GENEVA – Setting out a collaboration, CPOPC Executive Director, Mr Mahendra Siregar, visited United Nations headquarter in Geneva, Switzerland on late September 2017 to have a courtesy call with Secretary General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Mr Mukhisa Kituyi.

The meeting ended up with a fruitful collaboration of the two organizations to initiate a research project in Indonesia focusing on harnessing palm oil potential for smallholders. ”Strengthening the productivity of smallholders in the vein of Sustainable Development Goals/SDGs achievement is the key to meet future global demand of palm oil,” said Mr Mahendra.┬áSince the world demand on palm oil is estimated to boost 30% by 2020, smallholders have good opportunity to expand their share by improving the current low productivity.

The importance of the smallholders is also central to the economic and social policy of palm producing countries as efforts are made to improve the livelihood of rural communities who often have no other source of income. ”Thus, it is of importance to carry out an assessment of the challenges and opportunities of smallholders so as to foster the attainment of SDGs in Indonesia by harnessing the potential of palm oil,” add Mr Mahendra.

The Secretary General of UNCTAD welcomed the proposal, and allowed a follow up meeting with Commodity Research and Analysis Section (CRAS) UNCTAD to further discuss the project. In addition to provide technical assistance, UNCTAD wished to raise the palm oil issues in the United Nations intergovernmental system process, utilizing results of the CPOPC-UNCTAD joint research.