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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 - 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

 Cameroon: Will the Cameroonian government revise the Herakles Farms contract? 6/22/2013 Palm Watch: "Recent news out of Yaounde suggests that the Cameroonian government plans to review and revise the controversial contract (“Establishment Convention”) that granted the U.S. private investment firm, Herakles Farms, a 73,000 hectare concession in the Southwest Region. According to press agency ECOFIN, the original contract will be nullified and replaced with a new contract. The article, posted below, points to numerous problems with the original contract. This latest development raises a host of questions, including how exactly the government will “nullify” the contract."

Le Cameroun annule la première convention signée avec Herakles Farms 6/21/2013 Agence Ecofin

Land Deals in Africa: Cameroon 5/22/2013 Oakland Institute: Reports on the Herakles palm oil plantations and their devastating social and environmental effects.

Herakles Farms releases public statement: Operations suspended 5/21/2013 Palm Watch – Africa: "Herakles Farms (also known as SG-SOC in Cameroon) (“Company”), a United States-based agriculture company with operations in Ghana and Cameroon, today, announced that it has suspended work in Cameroon in response to an order it received from the Government of Cameroon’s Ministry of Forestry & Wildlife (MINFOF). The order requests that the Company cease preparing land near its Talangaye nursery, the resumption of activities “being subject to a declaration of public usefulness made to the zone where your entire project is located.” The order comes at a time when the Company’s main activity is the transfer of young trees from the nurseries to their permanent places in the field near the village of Talangaye. The Company had obtained permission to proceed and always has and will comply fully and transparently with government regulations in force. The Company hopes to understand and resolve these actions by the MINFOF."

Report: Fact finding mission on Herakles Farms (SGSOC) oil palm plantation project 2/1/2013 Government of Cameroon

Challenging year ends in hope for Cameroonian environmental activist 12/19/2012 Greenpeace: "This award I receive not only in my personal capacity, but rather on behalf of those who have worked alongside me, within the community as well as further afield,” he said. “I wish that our struggle against illegal land grabbing will continue, because we believe that the current location of the Herakles Farms’ palm oil project in the middle of environmentally sensitive areas will have far reaching negative impacts on the local human population, wildlife and botanical biodiversity.”Greenpeace agrees. And we’ll continue working alongside Nasako into the New Year until this project is stopped."

CAMEROON: Campaigners oppose industrial palm oil plantation 12/14/2012 IRIN: "The plantation will economically displace approximately 25,000 people and put at risk many others who depend on that land for small-scale food production, hunting, and non-timber forest products. Thus, the net impact on employment will actually be negative. This is not a fair deal," Nasako Besingi, one of the campaigners against the plantation, told IRIN."

Cameroun: Récompensé pour sa lutte en faveur du foncier équitable 12/13/2012 Journal du Cameroun: "Nasako Besingi a reçu le prix TAIGO 2012, de l’acteur non étatique pour son combat contre l’accaparement des terres dans la région du Sud-ouest."

Civil Society Accuses Herakles Farms of sabotaging Biya 12/13/2012 Kumba News: "The accusations have been voiced by Nasako Besingi Managing Director of the civil society organization Struggle to Economise Future Environment( SEFE) which has engaged in a battle to resist the palm plantation project of Herakles Farms(HF) in Ndian Ndivision hinging its argument on environmental reasons. The Guardians Post Caught up with Nasako in its Kumba Bureau Monday November 19, 2012 a few days after he and five others were released from detention in Mudemba."

Nasako Besingi wins a prize for opposing SGSOC project 12/12/2012 All Voices: "The Director of the NGO, Struggle to Economize Future Environment (SEFE) Nasako BESINGI is the winner of the 2012 TAIGO non-state actor. Nasako becomes the first winner in this category since the competition was launched in 2011. The prize to non-state actors rewards the commitment of Mr. BESINGI for transparency and governance, particularly in the context of his struggle to publicize the inconsistencies of the SGSOC project and the violation of Cameroon land laws and international conventions that characterize it."

Campaign Update– Cameroon: Opposition to Herakles Repressed 12/11/2012 Cultural Survival: "Nasako Besingi, the director of Struggle to Economise Future Environment (SEFE), one of our coalition partners on the ground in Cameroon, was arrested November 14th along with five others in the town of Mundemba, Cameroon.Local and international pressure was successful in releasing the activists after being held for two days with no charge."

Cameroon: Arbitrary arrest of and judicial harassment against Mr. Nasako Besingi and four SEFE collaborators 11/29/2012 World Organisation Against Torture: "According to the information received, in the morning of November 14, 2012, over 15 heavily armed Gendarme officers led by Brigade Commandant Luc Evoundou raided the premises of SEFE in Mundemba, where over 50 members of the local population had come to get T-shirts that were prepared for a peaceful campaign against the company Sithe Global Sustainable Oils Cameroon (SGSOC), a local subsidiary of the New York based company HERAKLES Farms, and its establishment of a controversial large-scale palm oil plantation on 73,000 hectares in the area[1]. On this same day, the Governor of the southwest region from Buea was visiting Mundemba to install the local government official and the local population wanted to use this occasion to wear the T-shirts as a means to peacefully voice their rejection of the oil palm plantation project to the authorities."

Cameroon: Arbitrary arrest of and judicial harassment against Mr. Nasako Besingi and four SEFE collaborators 11/29/2012 FIDH: "The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary arrest of and judicial harassment against Mr. Nasako Besingi, Director of the NGO Struggle to Economize Future Environment (SEFE), a local environmental organisation based in Mundemba, Ndian division, Southwest Cameroon, and four of his collaborators, Ms. Ekpoh Theresia Malingo, Mr. Isele Gabriel Ngoe, Mr. Mosongo Lawrence Namaso and Mr. Nwete Jongele."

Facts on the ground undermine Herakles’ Cameroonian PR offensive 11/22/2012 Greenpeace: "Bruce Wrobel the CEO of Herakles Farms has long claimed that his is a company that represents a positive presence in Africa. Indeed it seems impossible at present to pick up a newspaper in the Cameroonian capital Yaoundé without reading about one minor miracle or another taking place in the south west of the country that can only be attributed to the company and their benevolence. Minor miracles that the company is paying for themselves to advertise. But flying over the same southwest region and the real effect of Herakles Farms' presence in the country becomes all too evident. Like ugly pockmarks, craters of forest clearings to make way for what could eventually be a palm oil plantation ten times the size of Manhattan, are visible for miles around in what is otherwise a sea of trees."

Herakles Farms Continues Forest Clearing For Palm Oil 11/20/2012 Scoop: "Aerial footage from Greenpeace International taken earlier this month shows how trees in the largely forested concession area have been cleared by SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon (SGSOC), a subsidiary of New York-based Herakles Farms. The deforestation is taking place despite the fact SGSOC is operating via a 99-year land lease that has not yet been approved by Presidential Decree and is therefore questionable under Cameroonian Law. If it is not stopped, the planned 73,000-hectare concession will eventually be 10 times the size of Manhattan. It would destroy a densely forested area in a biodiversity hotspot, resulting in severe consequences for the livelihoods of thousands of residents and for the global climate."

Action alert: Stop palm oil plantations from destroying Africa’s ancient rainforests and local livelihoods in Cameroon 11/20/2012 Climate Connections: "Please join us in sending a powerful message to Herakles Farms and All for Africa demanding they stop destroying tropical rainforest and local livelihoods."

Cameroon police detain 4 activists 11/17/2012 AP: "The group said late Friday that Nasako Besingi and three of his co-workers with the environmental group the Struggle to Economize Future Environment were taken from their office in the southwest town of Mundemba on Wednesday. It said they have been held since without charge. Greenpeace International says the arrests are in violation of Cameroonian law and are linked to their opposition to the oil palm plantation planned by the U.S.-based Herakles Farms."

Cameroon — Greenpeace International says security officers detained four environmental 11/17/2012 AP

Land Grabbing Looms: New Palm Oil Plantation Threatens Cameroon's Rainforest 10/26/2012 Huff Post: by Nasako Besingi, Founder and director, Struggle to Economize the Future Environment (SEFE)

New report debunks investors’ effort to greenwash 9/11/2012 Scoop: "An American owned company with a track record of illegality and links to private equity giant Blackstone Group threatens to destroy rainforests and dislocate local communities in Cameroon. A new report (1) from The Oakland Institute, in collaboration with Greenpeace International, exposes how a New York-based agri-corporation, Herakles Farms, and its local subsidiary SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon (SGSOC), are involved in a land deal that is questionable under Cameroonian Law, opposed by locals since 2010 and has just pulled out of the industry’s sustainable certification scheme (2)."

Oakland Institute, Greenpeace expose New York investors' land grab in Cameroon 9/5/2012 PR Newswire

STATUS OF COMPLAINTS: HERACKLES FARMS 9/4/2012 Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO): "The RSPO has received a letter from Herakles Farms dated 24 Aug 2012 stating the company’s decision to withdraw their membership from the RSPO. The RSPO regrets this withdrawal of membership by Herakles Farms. This action pre-empts recommendations from the RSPO Complaints Panel to further verify the allegations made by the complainants."

Campaign Update – Cameroon: Protests Show Dissent on Palm Oil Project 8/15/2012 Cultural Survival

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."

Africa Palm-Oil Plan Pits Activists Against New York Investors 7/18/2012 Reuters: "Right now, Africa is the target of many companies hungry for forest land. An April 2012 study by the World Wildlife Fund and France’s Institute for Research and Development noted that new regulations and scrutiny elsewhere are “encouraging large Asian companies to heavily invest in Central Africa.” Herakles Farms, owned by New York venture-finance firm Herakles Capital, and other food giants such as Malaysia’s Sime Darby and Singapore’s Olam, see the next big growth area down the west coast of Africa, from Liberia to Gabon."

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 is cutting the heart out of Cameroon’s rainforest 5/11/2012 Greenpeace: "Within the past few weeks, rainforest destruction has begun once again in one of Africa’s most important biodiversity hotspots: the coastal rainforest of Cameroon, at the fringe of the Congo Basin region. Herakles Farms, the American company behind the operation, is now pressing ahead with the establishment of a palm oil plantation in this precious area despite major social, environmental and legal concerns."

Complaint on : Herakles Farms/Sithe Global Sustainable Oils Cameroon(SGSOC) 1/3/2012 RSPO: "Complainant : 10 individual complaints including World Wildlife Fund for Nature, RELUFA ( Network for the Fight against Hunger Cameroon),SAVE Wildlife Conservation Fund,Centre for Environment and Development in Yaounde, Cameroon Greenpeace"

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."

Siva Group in Cameroon $1.9 bln palm oil deal 8/24/2011 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."

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."

Africa's False Dilemma 5/7/2011 Huff Post: by Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director, Greenpeace International


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."

Earth Action Stop Herakles Farm Resources



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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