Cameroon: Government is stopping deforestation
Jun 6, 2013
The U.S. company Herakles Farms wants to destroy 70,000 hectares of rainforest for its huge palm oil project. Illegal clearings have already started. The authorities have now stopped the company's activities and seized the logging machinery in the rainforest.
The affected rainforest is directly located between Korup National Park and three other protection areas, which are home to endangered animals such as forest elephants, chimpanzees, and drill apes.
Rainforest Rescue has been supporting the people in this area for three years now as 16.000 small-scale farmers are living in 56 villages there. They are at risk of losing their ancestral land as well as their livelihood. So far, the association was able to help with two protest actions and donations for workshops, a lawyer and two lawsuits. The immediate stop of all deforestation had even been decided by court order.
Currently, the Government is examining the social impact of palm oil projects. A previously published inspection report by the Forest and Wildlife Department in Cameroon has pointed out the methods Herakles Farms is using: the company is massively violating the law as well as human rights, they are illegally logging the woods and are trying to appropriate land in adjacent forest areas with immense pressure.
In April, a study by the American Oakland Institute and Greenpeace had uncovered that the palm oil speculators had not only fooled the locals, the authorities and politicians but also the sponsors of the palm oil project. Accordingly, Herakles Farms systematically defrauds, bribes and betrays the people and the law. They are distributing envelopes with bribes to politicians and key individuals in order to buy their consent. Investors, however, are not being informed about missing permits and are led to believe that completely unrealistic profits would be possible.
As internal company documents have shown, the gaining of tropical wood is a major factor for land theft. In this rain forest area, there are several million cubic meters of wood with a market value of at least 70 million U.S. dollars. By logging this wood, the company wants to make a quick profit. Herakles Farms is supposedly only paying one dollar per hectare per year for the 99-year lease.
However it is not too late yet. So far, the company has only cut down a few dozen hectares of forest, in order to grow palm oil seedlings and to build access roads. Cameroon's President Paul Biya will have the final say on this. Rainforest Rescue is demanding that the head of government is immediately putting an end to this scandalous palm oil project.
RR Protest Action: Cameroon: Palm Oil Project Threatens People and the Rainforest
RR success: Cameroon: Court stops deforestation
Inspection report drawn up by the Forest and Wildlife Department: Report Fact finding mission on Herakles Farms (SGSOC) oil palm plantation project, February 2013
Study by the Oakland Institute: Herakles exposed: The truth behind Herakles Farms false promises in Cameroon