Palm Oil

The oil palm tree is native to West Africa. It is an important tree for forest-dependent communities, their cultures and their economies. However, large-scale oil palm monocultures for industrial production (oil and agrofuels) have been driving deforestation and land grabbing in Southeast Asia. More recently, oil palm monocultures are also driving destruction in Africa and Latin America.

Oil palm plantations are a central cause of deforestation in southeast Mexico. A network of women in Chiapas have organized to denounce the tactics of coercion and deception employed by the State and companies to get peasants to accept this monoculture on their lands. Their struggle is for the land, for their knowledge, and for their voices to be heard.
Oil palm plantation company Socfin has meant violence and oppression for affected communities in several African countries. Sierra Leone is no exception. In collaboration with Aminata Finda Massaquoi, a journalist and the national coordinator of the women’s advocacy network WORNAPI, WRM is releasing a podcast to highlight the voices of women living with the impacts of industrial plantations.
The news portal Metrópoles travelled 5,700 km to denounce how the palm oil production chain affects quilombola communities and Indigenous Peoples in the state of Pará, Brazil—namely through expropriation of traditional communities, environmental impacts, and a labor history analogous to slavery.
In September 2022, two large contingents of national police and military were dispatched to oil palm plantation concession areas of the Plantations et Huileries du Congo (PHC) in Lokutu and Boteka.
This bulletin highlights materials and analysis related to communities’ struggles against industrial tree plantations. It also pays homage to communities in DRC struggling to get their lands back from an oil palm company since colonial times. Their courageous struggle showcases the multiple layers of oppression and violations that result from the plantation model.
The oil palm plantations of BIDCO, a company partially owned by Wilmar, in Kalangala Island, Uganda, generated devastating impacts. The company plans to expand to Buvuma Island, however, they keep confronting strong organized opposition! Watch a short video with testimonies of resistance from Buvuma Island.
We share the final statement where they express their demands and claims.
The Informal Alliance Against the Expansion of Industrial Oil Palm Plantations in West and Central Africa released a declaration to keep breaking the silence of the many abuses around industrial plantations and to reaffirm their strong commitment to resist their expansion in the defence of their territories and lives.
Industrial palm oil production in West and Central Africa is mainly controlled by five multinational corporations, and could continue expansion. Plantations take up large tracts of land. Land and water are interdependent. Yet, the current water crisis in these territories would not exist if corporations had not grabbed the land from communities.
There is no other crop that has grown faster globally in the last decade than palm oil. This almost uncontrollable expansion leaves a deep trail of destruction and conflicts around its giant areas of plantations from Southeast Asia to West and Central Africa. As companies take over more community land, they also grab the water sources from them.
A recent publication from the organization The Oakland Institute reviews 15 projects from agribusiness in 11 African countries, evidencing how the large loss of land has entailed a dramatic impact on communities’ access to water.
An article in the news portal Mongabay exposes how six years after complaints were filed against the company Oro Rojo for polluting the rivers, wetlands and air, with its palm oil mill, nothing has changed.