In 2016, Wilmar Europe initiated a capacity-building project called WISSH (Wilmar Smallholders Support Honduras) together with AIPAH (National Association of Palm Oil Producers in Honduras). The partners, Olenex and Nestlé, have been supporting the WISSH programme since day one.
A key deliverable of WISSH is to implement our ‘No Deforestation’, no developing on ‘Peat’ lands and no ‘Exploitation’ of people (NDPE) policy at smallholder level. This has increased the awareness of environmental threats of the national palm oil industry.
The WISSH Program
With the help of AIPAH, alliances were made between the mills, their representatives and the individual smallholders. Nevertheless, it was not easy to implement WISSH and required hard work and commitment to the goals and change ‘wishful thinking’ into ‘WISSHFUL THINKING’ to really make a difference.
Empowering Smallholders & Improving Livelihoods
Although the palm oil industry is plagued by controversy over unsustainable farming practices such as deforestation, we believe that palm oil can be produced in a sustainable manner. In order to initiate the required setting, the smallholders in Honduras needed access to knowledge and tools to improve their agricultural and environmental practices. This would ultimately improve their livelihoods.
Train the trainer
The unique concept of this programme is to educate the mill supervisors to become professional trainers for the smallholders. Besides reinforcing their technical abilities in agricultural practices, NES Naturaleza has equipped the mill representatives to change the industry from within. WISSH has allowed the trainers to provide a high-quality training programme and create a better understanding of the NDPE policy, our environment and improved livelihoods.
In total, 488 training sessions were organized by NES Naturaleza and 50 mill supervisors, reaching 3300 smallholders over the country, addressing 6 comprehensive topics:
- NDPE (No Deforestation, Peat nor Exploitation)
- Good environment & Agricultural practice
- Good business practice
- Pest & disease control
- Social responsibility
- Monitoring & control
170 WISSH assessments
Change only happens when knowledge is implemented and maintained. Training was just the first step. To make sure that the enthusiasm for change didn’t fade, as many as 170 smallholder assessments were conducted. For these smallholders, it was the first time experiencing an assessment and helped them to progress further on their sustainability journey.