Community struggles against oil palm company Feronia-PHC in the DR Congo

In 2009, the global food corporation Unilever sold its palm oil subsidiary Plantations et Huileries du Congo (PHC), in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), to the Canadian company Feronia.

European Development Banks provided over US$ 100 million in funding to Feronia and its Congolese subsidiary PHC since 2013, claiming that the money will support development and secure jobs. The development bank funding has done neither, as reports and statements from community organisations and national and international organisations supporting the communities’ struggle to reclaim their land demonstrate. On the contrary, conflicts have escalated since the development banks became involved, the company’s security guards have been implicated in brutal beatings, killings of young men from villages and violence and abuse against women.

Feronia went bankrupt in 2020, and development banks agreed to hand over PHC to an obscure company called Straight KKM. Since the new owner took over, two people have been brutally killed amidst community reports of escalating violence perpetrated by the company’s security guards.

In 2018, communities have filed a complaint with development banks, requesting a mediation. The mediation has yet to start off, while the violence and killings continue as European development banks remain shamefully indifferent to the violence and killings on the plantations they continue to finance.

The publications below expose the colonial history behind these oil palm plantations as well as the violence that continues to this day. The community statements are testament to the struggle for justice that communities affected by this land grab dating back to colonial Belgian rule have been mounting ever since the land was violently taken from them more than 110 years ago. A complete repository of articles, reports, statements and audio-visual media reports on the community struggle against Feronia’s occupation of their ancestral land is available at:

Bulletin articles 26 September 2018
Interview with Solange Bolembe, from RIAO-RDC, about the many challenges that women face who live in communities affected by vast oil palm plantations managed by Feronia-PHC, a company financed by several European development banks.
Bulletin articles 21 September 2017
Oil palm plantations managed by the Canadian-based agribusiness company FERONIA Inc have been opposed by local residents ever since they were established by the previous owner of the plantations, multinational food company Unilever. Incidents of violent abuse and conflict arising from the company’s oil palm plantations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been a regular occurrence. In 2015, seven children were left orphaned after police killed both indigenous pygmy parents for taking some oil palm fruits from the plantations to feed their children.
Publications 3 November 2016
The report is also available in German, in Lingala and Swahili.
Bulletin articles 13 July 2016
Oil palms are native to the forests of Central and West Africa and inseparable from the region’s peoples and their cultures. Communities in this part of the world have relied on oil palms for thousands of years— as a source of food, textiles, medicines and construction materials.
Bulletin articles 15 October 2015
Interview with Jean-François Mombia on oil palm plantations Could you tell us what is the RIAO-RDC (Information and Support Network for national NGOs-Democratic Republic of Congo) and what are its main activities?
Publications 1 June 2015
Report about how several prominent development finance institutions (DFIs) are funding Feronia Inc., a Canadian agribusiness company accused of land grabbing and human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Action alerts 1 June 2015
Several prominent development finance institutions (DFIs) are funding Feronia Inc., a Canadian agribusiness company accused of land grabbing and human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).