Original blogpost by Alexa Phillips, Greenpeace Africa
For many people thoughts are already turning to the festive period and a well-earned rest. All Nasako Besingi wants for Christmas is for Herakles Farms to say they are leaving him and his fellow villagers’ land alone.
2012 has been a tough year for the Cameroonian activist, the director of the NGO Struggle to Economize Future Environment (SEFE), which has been leading resistance to Herakles’ proposed palm oil plantation in the country. While preparing a peaceful demonstration last month, he was arrested with other SEFE activists and detained without charge. For months he’s been subjected to constant harassment culminating in a court appearance this week where he again left without any charge being laid. Continue reading →
What began in 2011 as a call to the youth of the DRC to speak out for the protection of their forests, has come to this grand moment – men, women and children from Kinshasa city and surroundings coming out to take part in the filming of the video for song the “Voix de la forêt”, whose lyrics come from a selection of poems written by young people during our Future of the Forests in Poetry competition.
In the warm September sunshine of a small forest in the Mont Ngafula commune, people came out, together as one, without distinction of race or age, because they want to protect the inimitable Congo forests. Continue reading →
Frédéric Amiel is head of the Forest Campaign for Greenpeace France
Bruce Wrobel is a man with his heart in the right place. You see, Bruce is in the agricultural business and he plans to solve the world’s complex food security issues by creating sustainable, community oriented projects. He is the CEO of Herakles Farms – a corporation with some very wealthy friends. Continue reading →
Palm oil is the world’s cheapest edible oil and a key ingredient in some biofuels. Global demand is booming and agri-corporations are grabbing large swathes of land to expand palm oil production in a new frontier: Africa.
One of these corporations is Herakles Farms, a New York-based agri-corporation with links to one of the world’s largest private equity firms, Blackstone. Herakles is steaming ahead with its palm oil plantation in Cameroon, which is set to affect tens of thousands of people in dozens of villages and, covering around 70,000 hectares, would flatten a forested area larger than Manhattan Island between four protected areas.
Portraying itself as a benign benefactor, Herakles Farms says it “aims to meet growing global demand for food by developing sustainable and environmentally benign projects with full support of the local people”.
But in Cameroon, this is hardly the case.
During a Greenpeace field trip to Cameroon this month, I witnessed widespread local opposition to Herakles Farms’ highly controversial yet potentially lucrative palm oil plantation. Continue reading →
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.