Herakles Farms continues to clear forest in the southwest region of Cameroon despite the legal questions surrounding the 99-year concession lease (see photos recently released by Greenpeace). The company has shown itself willing to move forward in questionable circumstances before, when it dropped it’s bid to join the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) which would have provided guidance and certification on sustainable practices for the plantation. The concession area, described by Greenpeace surveyors as, “a densely forested area in a biodiversity hotspot”, will clear 730 square kilometers, or ten times the size of Manhattan.
Local support for the Herakles operation is waning as well. Local villagers and farmers are alarmed about the lack of consultation in the disposition of their lands, and local Herakles employees are dissatisfied with their pay and working conditions. Five local village leaders in the Ndian division of Cameroon, where Herakles plans to replace the existing forest with 30,000 hectares of oil plam plantation, have drafted and signed petitions to the Cameroonian president. You can view these letters in the Resources section.
Of equal concern, are the reports of protestors and other opponents of the oil palm plantations being harassed by Cameroonian authorities. Nasako Besingi, the director of local NGO Struggle to Economise Future Environment (SEFE), was arrested on November 14, 2012 with other colleagues and detained without charge. After being held for two days, local and international pressure from coalition partners was successful in getting Besingi and his colleagues released.
TAKE ACTION: Contact those who are involved with the company’s presence in Cameroon and voice your opposition to the project. You can find their contact information in the Resources section of our campaign website.