Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand are the three major CPO-producing countries, contributing to approximately 98% of the total world CPO production, most of which is produced by smallholders. In Indonesia and Malaysia, 40% of the total palm oil plantation area is owned by smallholders. Thailand has the largest percentage of smallholdings, amounting to 98% of the total plantation area. Smallholders are the world's most important palm oil producers, consisting of around three million smallholders and more than 40% of the global oil palm plantation area.
However, smallholders face more demanding challenges than large plantations, namely limited knowledge about GAP, low productivity, and the absence of sustainable management. To overcome this problem, smallholders need support from all related parties. Therefore, empirical research in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand is required, which should not only be carried out separately but also cooperatively in the form of comprehensive joint research. Through the support of the Ministry of Education, Universitas Sumatera Utara (USU) formed a consortium that integrates the three producing countries. Indonesia is represented by Universitas Sumatera Utara (USU), Universitas Jambi (UNJA) and Universitas Malikussaleh (UNIMAL), is represented by Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Thailand is represented by Prince of Songkla University (PSU).
USU has conducted considerable research on oil palm in Sumatra, covering various aspects, from technical to socio-economic. UPM is one of the top 5 research universities in Malaysia and has conducted extensive research and publications related to palm oil. Researchers from PSU have been involved in several smallholder empowerment projects. UNJA is the largest public university in Jambi and has researched peatland issues related to palm oil. UNIMAL is located in North Aceh, one of the areas designated for oil palm plantation development. The consortium aims to develop joint programs that can improve the position of smallholders in the global market.
To become a leading consortium in conducting research and providing solutions to improve the position of smallholders in the global palm oil value chain
To build a global palm oil research network
To produce high-quality empirical research
To provide solutions to empirical issues in the palm oil industry