Cameroon's palm oil expansion
The Cameroonian government has announced that a 19,843 hectare land lease to Herakles Farms (a US agribusiness company) has been signed, allowing the company's potentially damaging palm oil project to go ahead.
Campaigners have been battling to stop the plantation sighting environmental risks.
The area earmarked for cultivation is currently home to several endangered species including the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee, and the Red Colobus monkey.
In a recently published article scientist Dr Linder stated that "agro-industrial developments will soon emerge as a top threat to biodiversity in the African tropical forest zone [and could lead to] a rapid decline in African primate diversity". The approved plantation "will not only lead to the elimination of animal populations of conservation concern within the plantation, but will seriously degrade the integrity of the four protected areas [which surround the plantation]".
Although the project has been downsized from the initially proposed 70,000 ha, campaigners argue that problems associated with the project still remain. Irène Wabiwa, forest campaigner with Greenpeace Africa commented: “it simply remains the wrong project in the wrong place, as the impact on communities’ livelihoods and the forests remain unacceptable.”
By signing this provisional land lease, the Cameroonian government puts at risk a partnership with the European Union and Germany, who have a long standing relationship with the Cameroon government to help protect biodiversity and promote good governance in the forest sector.
Dr Linder called on the government of Cameroon to halt the allocation of new industrial oil palm concessions "until environmentally and socially responsible policies are put in place".
Greenpeace called on palm oil companies and investors to commit to zero deforestation policies that protect Africa’s forests and the livelihoods of the people who live there.
Visit our palm oil campaign pages.