Cameroon/Herakles Farms: an appeal for assistance from Cameroonian communities …

… resisting the Herakles Farms’ Palm Oil Projects – Published on, Aug 9, 2016.

The Herakles Farms palm oil project has been involved in the unlawful taking of land from local communities. The project is also destroying forested areas, illegally laundering timber, and threatens Korup National Park, a high conservation area. Korup Park is home to chimpanzees, forest elephants, gorillas, and other endangered wildlife. Local communities are fighting for survival and for their land and forests.  

On November 25, 2013, the President of Cameroon signed a series of decrees granting a three year provisional land lease of 19, 840 hectares to Herakles Farms for a controversial palm oil project. The initial project consisted of 73,000 hectares in the midst of four protected areas including the iconic Korup National Park … //

… Recommendations:

The ongoing tensions in villages elucidate that the process of acquiring the land was done without the involvement of the villages concerned. It also demonstrates the fact that this once quiet and peaceful area is subject to escalating tensions and possible violence.

The fact that Herakles has elected to work with the local administration to implement the project instead of concentrating on building confidence with the communities through Free, Prior and Informed Consent process undermines the credibility of the company and its management board. This puts their investors in the project at great risk.

The communities are in an ongoing struggle to resist this company and are faced with a lack of information coupled with complex tactics employed by the state and Herakles in an effort to grab land from communities. The communities need information and leadership from credible organisations. The communities cannot survive on information alone- they need capacity building and support for their communities and livelihoods.
Under no circumstances will the communities back down from their opposition to this project. This is the reason why the company is seeks to collude with the government, flout the law, and intimidate local communities.

In fact, common sense requires that for the survival and sustainability of the protected areas surrounding the Herakles concession, the government of should proceed to encourage agriculture driven by communities rather than granting large concessions agro-industries as a means to develop the area. Small scale agriculture will lead to slow deforestation as oppose to large scale agro-business with not just rapid deforestation but with other accompanying impact like pollution and climate change.

This is an appeal for assistance from NGO SEFE and the local communities opposing this project. We request media representatives contact SEFE for further details and ask for the assistance of individuals and NGOs who can help local communities protect their lands and forests.

To help please contact SEFE.

(full text).

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