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.

Communities in West and Central Africa are facing the impacts of industrial oil palm plantations. With the false promise of bringing ‘development’, corporations, backed up with government support, have been granted millions of hectares of land for this expansion.

RIAO-RDC and international NGOs calls for the immediate release of community leaders and villagers from the communities of Mwingi, Bolesa and Yanongo who were arrested after a peaceful protest against the palm oil company PHC. An urgent action alert is open to sign-ons.

The report details abuses faced by communities affected by industrial oil palm plantations managed by the Congolese company Plantations et Huileries du Congo (PHC).

Patriarchal oppression is inseparable from the industrial plantation model, and it is at the base of how companies generate profits. Companies target women, including due to their fundamental role in community life.

The government of Indonesia endorsed the criticized Omnibus Law by saying that it is “crucial to attract investment and ultimately create jobs.” The Law is a direct attack on the territories and communities resisting the increasing destruction that has been ongoing for decades in Indonesia. (Available in Indonesian).

The RSPO certification scheme used the palm oil industry’s legitimacy crisis to strengthen the terrain to the industry’s own advantage by issuing certificates that supposedly guarantee sustainability standards.

The video “NO to violence against women and girls living in and around oil palm plantations” denounces the violence against women in West and Central Africa whose lands have been invaded by industrial oil palm plantations.

WRM spoke with close allies from Brazil, Gabon, India, Mexico and Mozambique, to hear from them and learn about their understandings of development.

Why haven't Africa's post-colonial governments dismantled the colonial plantation model of exploitation and extraction, returned the lands to their people and emboldened a resurgence of Africa's diverse, local food and farming systems?

European development banks have financed a plantation company in DRC that is built on injustice and violence dating back to a colonial-era land grab. When the company went bankrupt in 2020, the banks chose to uphold the plantation model.