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Palm Oil Plantation News
threatening the Nasako, founders of Abakuá

Hiding behind the false claim that biodiesel is green technology - in fact it still adds to global warming, as documented in sources linked below - large land owners in Latin America, Asia, and now Africa are creating industrial scale palm oil plantations that destroy rain forest ecosystems. These large land owners expropriate vast numbers of small farmers, frequently by the use of threats and violence.

Various Ékpè communities are being directly affected by a major Cameroon plantation project being built by NY based Herakles Capital, including the Ekama-Ngolo community, home to the Nasako family which played an important role in founding  Ékpè and Abakuá. Each Abakuá lodge has a Nasako diviner in their membership.

This neoplantationism is a global phenomena - in Colombia and Honduras, large land owners, the new plantocracy, make use of paramilitaries financed by narcotics trafficking to clear the land of millions of inconvenient small owners, who in  many cases are of African or Indigenous descent. In Africa, we have "politically correct" large corporations achieving the same ends through the threat of legal sanctions (state violence) wrapped in a web of deceit and socially responsible rhetoric.

This new plantocracy is reminiscent of Cuba's old plantocracy, which survives in Florida, as with the Fanjul brothers who control Domino sugar and have caused massive damage to Florida's ecosystems - stealing water, drying up the Everglades, and sending their fertilizer laced run-off to kill coral and other ocean life many miles off shore.

We will be tracking these issues at Plantation News, Cameroon, Plantation News, Africa, and Plantation News, Latin America.

Contacting Struggle to Economize Future Environment (SEFE), Cameroon

Cameroonian activists, some related to Cuban Abakwa, in Greepeace panel at National Press Club, 2/19/13. Washington, DC

Email from Nasako Besingi,  Director, Struggle to Economize Future Environment (SEFE)top

Date: Mon, 12 Sep 2011 01:22:10 -0700 (PDT)
From: Nasako Besingi <>
Subject: Re: Open Letter to RSPO and WWF: Palm oil monocultures will never be sustainable

Thank you so much for the attention on this very serious matter. We are glad to hear that you are also planning to support us in opposing this palm oil plantation proposed in a sensitive ecological and hydrological area with rainfall round the year. We look forward to working with you all and remain disposed to provide any information that you may need at any time. The companies involve are in the USA.



Mr. Nasako Besingi, Director
Struggle to Economize Future Environment (SEFE)
P.O. Box 40, Mundemba, Ndian Division, Cameroon
mobile: +237 7513 6000
SEFE seeks to futhersome the protection of caostal aquatic ecosystems with consumming focus on mangrove ecosystem. As a grassroots oriented outfit, SEFE, in collaboration with the local communities carryout various aspects activities, management, research,dialoque, empowering and coaching local people to embrass the precept of sustainable livelihood. In SEFE, we also carryout advocacy as away of promoting environmental justice and maintaining aquatic ecosystems equillibrium. Our community have your say (CHYS) initiative allows the communities to make inputs in our projects from project conception to evaluation, thereby giving them ownership and responsibility for the protection of natural resources while ensuring ecosystems balance. 


Palm Oil Plantation News, Cameroontop

Diez países de África se unen en la vigilancia de los bosques 7/27/2012 Guin Guin Bali: "Una nueva iniciativa regional ayudará a diez países de África Central a establecer sistemas nacionales avanzados de monitoreo de los bosques, según anunció la FAO. Los diez países forman parte de la cuenca del Congo e incluyen Burundi, Camerún, República Centroafricana, Chad, la República Democrática del Congo, la República del Congo, Guinea Ecuatorial, Gabón, Ruanda y Santo Tomé y Príncipe."

Special Report: Africa palm-oil plan pits activists vs N.Y. investors 7/18/2012 Reuters: "Herakles takes such allegations seriously. The company needs the blessing of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a Kuala Lumpur-based certification body set up in 2004 and designed to rid the industry of the forest-wrecking image it picked up in Asia. Without the nod of the RSPO, Herakles would struggle to support its argument that it will be a model for producing palm oil in an environment-friendly way. To get that imprint, Herakles must prove it has the locals' "free, prior and informed consent", a principle set out in the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and adopted by the RSPO."

Herakles Farms Announces Update on Its Cameroon Palm Oil Subsidiary SGSOC 6/12/2012 PR Newswire: "While SGSOC expects that approximately 60,000 hectares may ultimately be suitable for planting, before it proceeds with transferring its trees from the nursery to the field, it has committed to performing additional pre-planting studies designed to ensure that the Company has thoroughly mapped all high conservation value sites, important lands for village use, buffer zones and fulfilled other obligations to key stakeholders. "

CONCERNS MOUNT AGAINST US OIL PALM PLANTATIONS IN CAMEROON 6/3/2012 Akanimo Reports: "SEFE President/Managing Director, Nasako Besingi, in the e-mail that was made available to AkanimoReports on Sunday, said: ''You will agree with me that these threats do not only come from nearby communities but from onshore and offshore human activities''."

Cameroon: Forests Pressured As Leaders Welcome Palm Oil Investors 5/23/2012 AlertNet: "Cameroon is inviting foreign companies to expand lucrative palm plantations, pitting the country's need for economic development against environmentalists who foresee the loss of important forests. Since 2009 this West African country has witnessed a sharp rise in interest from companies seeking vast expanses of land for industrial palm plantations in response to increasing global demand for palm oil. Six foreign-owned companies are currently trying to secure over 1 million hectares (about 2.5 million acres) of land for the production of palm oil in the country's forested southern zone, according to a coalition of environmental organisations."

How a U.S. Company Is Breaking Laws and Grabbing Land in Africa 5/14/2012 Alternet: "In 2009, SGSOC signed a 99-year contract with Cameroon's government for around 70,000 hectares (over 170,000 acres) in the Ndian and Kupe-Muanenguba regions of the country. The company plans to develop a large industrial palm oil plantation and refinery on 60,000 hectares of the concession, and produce palm oil and other products. SGSOC insists that the plan will create 7,500 jobs, as well as generate revenues for Cameroon's government, improve road infrastructure and deliver other social services. However, local and international NGOs are raising concerns about the impact the project might have on the environment and human rights. The company’s contract gives it the right to arrest and detain people within their concession. It also practically exonerates the company from paying taxes, and states that all contractual terms are valid even if they are in conflict with Cameroonian law. SGSOC is a subsidiary of American agribusiness corporation Herakles Farms. In turn, Herakles Farms is a subsidiary of Herakles Capital, a New York-based venture finance firm that specializes in investments in developing countries. Herakles Farms, in partnership with its non-profit, All for Africa, is focused on large-scale sustainable agricultural projects in sub-Saharan Africa."

Herakles Farms Releases Environmental & Social Impact Assessment, Launches Social Infrastructure Program 9/14/2011 Heracles Capital

Palm oil, poverty, and conservation collide in Cameroon 9/13/2011 Mongabay: "The world's most productive oil seed has been a boon to southeast Asian economies, but the looming arrival of industrial plantations in Africa is raising fears that some of the same detriments that have plagued leading producers Malaysia and Indonesia—deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, conflicts with local people, social displacement, and poor working conditions—could befall one of the world’s most destitute regions."

A Huge Oil Palm Plantation Puts African Rainforest at Risk 9/12/2011 Environment 360: "Given the environmental importance of the site of the proposed Herakles plantation, conservationists are asking, why there? Considering that Africa has more than 400 million hectares of degraded forest land available for development, why not choose an area where the forest is already gone? “Given the versatility of oil palm and so much degraded, deforested land across the tropics, surely there are better places to make this kind of investment,” said Nigel Sizer, director of the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Global Forests Initiative, who met with Herakles officials to express his concerns."

Herakles lands $350 mln Cameroon palm oil deal 7/17/2011 Reuters: "New York-based agricultural company Herakles Farms will develop some 60,000 hectares of oil palm plantations in Cameroon's south-west region, project manager Delilah Rothenberg told Reuters in an interview. "We are developing approximately 60,000 hectares of oil palm plantation, and expect the total capital costs to be about $350 million, to be invested over several years," she said of the result of a land lease deal signed with the government… She added Herakles was adhering to industry standards on sustainability and that the project would create some 9,000 local jobs."

US Investors want a 72,000 hectare palm oil plantation in the middle of the rainforest 7/9/2011 Intercontinental Cry: "Conservation groups are on a last-minute run to stop one of the world's largest private equity firms, the Blackstone Group, from getting a brand new 72,000 hectare palm oil plantation in the middle of the rainforest. Naturefund, Rettet den Regenwald, Rainforest Foundation UK SAVE Wildlife Conservation Fund and other groups warn that plans are already underway to clear out the biologically-rich rainforest in Southwest Cameroon."

Stop Blackstone Deforestation in Cameroon 6/30/2011 African Conservation Foundation: "The rainforests of the Gulf of Guinea in Cameroon and Nigeria are a biodiversity hotspot. They are among the most biologically rich forests in the world and harbor many plant and animal species found nowhere else on this planet. They are also highly threatened. In the middle of this network of forests a palm oil plantation is planned. Over 70,000 hectares (270 sq. miles) of land currently covered by a mosaic of mature, dense forest, agroforest, farmland, and human settlements will be transformed into a monoculture of oil palms. This will be an environmental disaster for the rainforests in Cameroon; even worse than the planned highway trough the Serengeti. The oil palm plantation will further fragment this unique landscape, restricting the natural movements of many animal species."

Stop the Palm Oil Plantation in Cameroon 6/27/2011 Care2 Petition Site: "The permit for the plantation was given without agreement from the 38 small villages (45,000 people) and factual landowners. Their estates would become confiscated."

Herakles Farms Develops Sustainable Palm Oil Plantations in Cameroon & Ghana 6/15/2011 Heracles Capital

Palm oil plantation 'threatens Cameroon rainforest' 6/7/2011 Ethical Consumer: "German campaign group Rettet Den Regenvald have reported that Herakles Capital was planning a 72,000 hectare palm oil plantation in the rainforest of Cameroon. It argued that: "the forest and the animal and plant species living there would be destroyed forever. The people would also lose their land and livelihoods."

Cameroon: Palm Oil Project Threatens People and the Rainforest 5/7/2011 Rainforest Rescue: "Please participate in our protest and write to the Minister of Environment and the Minister of Forests of Cameroon. We are collecting signatures and will be presenting them to the Cameroon Embassy in Berlin."

Siva Group in Cameroon $1.9 bln palm oil deal 5/7/2011 Reuters: "Biopalm Energy, a subsidiary of Singapore’s Siva group will on Wednesday launch a 900 billion CFA Francs palm oil investment project in the south of Cameroon, an official of the country’s agriculture ministry said on Tuesday. The 200,000 hectares greenfield project will be jointly developed with the Central African nation’s National Investment Corporation, the official said, requesting not to be named." 

Plantation News, Africa

Foreign farms in Africa bring investment and controversy 6/24/2012 AFP: "Marc Ona, founder of the Brainforest pressure group, said the concern is more about the lack of oversight of the deals and the impact on the environment and society. "Faced with the challenge of food security, the choice is often geared toward agro-industry, with decisions made in illegal circumstances, without judicial oversight," he said."

New film sows seeds of freedom 6/14/2012 Pambazuka News: "Africa is under growing pressure to turn to hybrid seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Only last month, President Obama launched the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, which will see the combined forces of agribusiness giants Monsanto, Syngenta, Cargill, DuPont and Yara investing $3 billion into creating new markets in Africa, amidst claims that this will solve hunger and malnutrition. © The Gaia Foundation But amidst the pressure to “modernise” agriculture, the enormous wealth and diversity of locally-adapted seeds and farmer knowledge is ignored, undermined and eroded by policy makers. Increasing biological and agricultural diversity has been at the centre of food production, culture and spirituality for every traditional culture on earth, since the beginning of human history. Our ancestors had good reasons: they knew that greater diversity in their crops gave them better nutrition and resilience to the many challenges of farming, from weather, pests and soil variations. As Muhammed, a traditional farmer from Ethiopia says in the film, “Seed is our life. Our livelihoods depend on it. One variety is not enough for us. If we lose that, we are lost."

Squeezing Africa dry: behind every land grab is a water grab 6/13/2012 Pambazuka News: "Those who have been buying up vast stretches of farmland in recent years, whether based in Dubai or London City, understand that it's the access to water that they get from the land deals, which they often get for free and without restriction, that may well be worth the most over the long-term. "The value is not in the land," says Neil Crowder, whose UK-based company, Chayton Capital, has been acquiring farmland in Zambia. "The real value is in water."

New Liberian Tree Crop Rehabilitation Project to Benefit 26,000 Farming Household Members / Support Ranges From Access to Finance, Inputs, Markets, and Technologies, to Institutional Building, Rehabil 6/12/2012 SpyGhana: "This project, which is to be managed by the Liberian Ministry of Agriculture, has three components. The first is the Smallholder Tree Crops Revitalization: rehabilitating, replanting and newly planting cocoa and coffee farms (7,500 ha); revitalization of an oil palm plantation run by smallholders and an oil palm outgrowers scheme around a concessionaire (1,200 ha of rehabilitation/replanting); and replanting and extension of rubber farms (2,600 ha) in partnership with one concessionaire and one large Liberian estate. The project will support technical and management advice to smallholders and their Farmers Organizations, quality promotion and marketing enhancement; access of farmers and their FOs to adapted financial services; development of small scale processing for cocoa, coffee and oil palm; and rehabilitation of critical farm access roads."

Land grabs leave Africa facing ‘hydrological suicide’ - report 6/12/2012 Alertnet: "If these land grabs are allowed to continue, Africa is heading for a hydrological suicide," said the report’s co-author Henk Hobbelink, coordinator of GRAIN, an organisation supporting small farmers. Foreign governments and wealthy individuals are snapping up millions of hectares of land on the continent for large-scale agriculture projects to grow food and biofuels for export. But the report warns there is simply not enough water in Africa's rivers and water tables to irrigate all the newly acquired land."

Bakrie Delano to Invest $1 Billion In Niger Delta Plantations and Oil 6/2/2012 Jakarta Globe: "Nigeria-based Bakrie Delano Africa plans to spend half of the company’s $1 billion investment commitment in the country on crude palm oil and rubber plantations, its chief executive said in Jakarta on Tuesday. Bakrie Delano is a joint venture of Bakrie Group and British-Nigerian businessman Ladi Delano. "

Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa 9/22/2011 Oakland Institute: multiple studies for each country

Africa: up for grabs - the scale and impact of land grabbing for agrofuels 9/22/2011 Friends of the Earth Africa And Friends of the Earth Europe: "Research carried out by Friends of the Earth Europe, Center for Environmental Development/Friends of the Earth Cameroon (CED/FoEC), Friends of the Earth Sierra Leone, Friends of the Earth Ghana, Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Friends of the Earth Togo, Yonge Nawe – FoE Swaziland, FoE Mauritius – MAUDESCO, Citizens for Justice (CFJ) Malawi, Community Training and Development Trust Zimbabwe and the NRDC/ZEGA Training Trust Zambia."

Palm Oil Fuels Land Grabs in Africa 9/15/2011 Pambazuka News: "By next year 'palm oil is forecast to be the world's most produced and internationally traded edible oil.' But as foreign investors descend on Africa to develop large-scale palm oil plantations, the survival of local people is being threatened as they lose control of the land and water on which they depend for their food production and livelihoods, warns Joan Baxter."

A Huge Oil Palm Plantation Puts African Rainforest at Risk 9/12/2011 environment360: "Bruce Wrobel, president & CEO of Herakles Capital, said, “There isn’t a question of it going forward, more of what the exact [total] area will be.”But more than 80 conservation and civil society organizations are opposing the project in its current form, hoping that their opposition will scare away the investors that Herakles needs to fund its project. “The challenge Herakles now faces is where to raise the $300 million or more to implement the plan,” said WRI’s Sizer. “Many potential investors will shy away from a project that involves reputational risks from forest loss and complicated negotiations with local communities.”"

The new African land grab 6/30/2011 Al Jazeera: "The "town" chief of the village seemed to be in a state of shock. Sitting on the front porch of his mud and thatch home in Pujehun District in southern Sierra Leone, he struggled to find words that could explain how he had signed away the land that sustained his family and his community. He said he was coerced by his Paramount Chief, told that whether he agreed, or not, his land would still be taken and his small oil palm stand destroyed. He didn't know the name of the foreign investor nor did he know that it planned to lease up to 35,000 hectares of farmland in the area to establish massive oil palm and rubber plantations."


World Wide

Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

Sithe Global Power


Video: International Declaration: Stop the expansion of monoculture tree plantations!  9/9/2009 Pulp Inc 

International Declaration against monoculture tree plantations  9/9/2009 Pulp Inc 

Palm Oil Industry will never be sustainable  11/28/2008 Rainforest Rescue: "The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Forests has identified government policies replacing forests by industrial tree plantations, including palm oil plantations, as the causes of deforestation and degradation. Palm oil is produced in large scale monocultures in tropical countries to be exported to the global market (including the EU, China, India and the United Nations of America). The negative consequences of monoculture oil palm plantations are tangible in Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua-New Guinea, Cameroon, Uganda, Côte d’Ivoire, Cambodia, Philippines and Thailand and also in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and Costa Rica."


SG Sustainable Oils on RSPO


Abakuá page on AfroCubaWeb

Cuba's Plantocracy


Contacting Struggle to Economize Future Environment (SEFE)top

Mr. Nasako Besingi, Director
Struggle to Economize Future Environment (SEFE)
P.O. Box 40, Mundemba, Ndian Division, Cameroon
mobile: +237 7513 6000
SEFE seeks to futhersome the protection of caostal aquatic ecosystems with consumming focus on mangrove ecosystem. As a grassroots oriented outfit, SEFE, in collaboration with the local communities carryout various aspects activities, management, research,dialoque, empowering and coaching local people to embrass the precept of sustainable livelihood. In SEFE, we also carryout advocacy as away of promoting environmental justice and maintaining aquatic ecosystems equillibrium. Our community have your say (CHYS) initiative allows the communities to make inputs in our projects from project conception to evaluation, thereby giving them ownership and responsibility for the protection of natural resources while ensuring ecosystems balance. 



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