Since 1999, we have embarked on a journey of planting bamboo in plantations to research on models for soil fertility within silviculture systems. Due to the nature of plantation requirement for heavy feeding of macro nutrients for the crops, it is essential that a natural pathway should be established to eradicate dependency on synthetic chemical inputs that degrade plantation soil.
UN Global State of the Soil Assessment, 2015, states that " Humanity losses another 0.3% of our global food production capacity each year to soil erosion and degradation. " If we were to follow this projection, it will mean that in the next decade we would have lost one third of our arable land on planet earth for nutritional food production. This will be a disaster with world population growing to 10 billion in 2050.
So let us imagine, if we can turn our palm oil plantation among small holders to go green and allow diversification to maximize land use for food production. By going green, we are able to grow nutrients for biotech production for key active compounds. This will allow our youth in academia to venture into the "Green Palm Oil Plantation" with food crops armed with new technologies and science approaches for a regenerative economy.
Small holders palm oil plantations plays an important economic transformation for rural communities in Malaysia. However it has been an uphill struggle for many small holders due to the cost of external chemical inputs which eat into their operational cost and at the same time degrade the land and limit opportunities to diversify into other food crops to supplement their livelihoods. There has been a constant stream of requests from small holders to look into natural and agroecological systems. This is a common request among younger and educated second generation small holders.