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HERACKLES FARMS: From Forest to Palm oil PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow
Sunday, 06 December 2015 05:35

By Aaron Yancho kaah  and Ngalla Killian

bamenda cameroon

 

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In the thick tropical forest of Ndian division in Cameroon's South West Region, a group of chimpanzees skip from tree branch to tree branch as they forage for food . This pristine forest is also  sanctuary to a wide  variety of mammals including  Monkeys, Antelopes, insects  and birds.

 

Nonetheless the bio-diversity of this forest is at risk.  The US base Agro Industrial Cooperation Herackles Farms has established a 73000 hectares of plantation plams seedlings in this vast  forest reserve. This project is in the heart of one of Africa's most cherished bio diversity and forest zones. This 99 years lice granted Herackles by the Cameroon government  is adjacent several  important reserves including the world renowned  Korup national park.

 

The Herackles palm oil plantation that has covered farm land and forest patches also has left over 14000 people without a livelihood. Many local people in this community have being opposed to this project. "We  dont   want them because they are no advantages that our people here will have  and we don't need them. We  don't need them we are fine." remarked  Ayuk Sunde a  resident of the locality. "And if they come to say they want to take this land from us  we are not ready for it" cried another villager Thomas Ojong.

Despite these complains Herakles went ahead with the project in its current location.. This Agro Industrial Commpany had vowed to abide  to strict environmental and social standards and posits that the plantation will provide  economic  development for the region. How ever many of the residence of this region are poor  and 45% of Cameroonians live on less than 1 dollar a day even  as the unemployment rate stands at 65%. Herakles commitment goes beyond creating jobs. The firm has created a Non Profit Organization-All For Africa to fund social ventures across the continent with profits  from income generated  through the  Cameroon oil project.

 

 

Conservationist are seeing all these pledges under a different radar. Many different international organizations see it as a vehicle for  selling a controversial idea to down play social and environmental concerns.Jushua Osih is a Cameroon member of parliament from the Ndial locality. He is low kid about the Herakles Farms and says his people are used to such loofty promises most of them from big organizations operating in the area."Plantation jobs are modern day slavery... We have seen alot of industrial plantations developing around this area but  nothng happened absolutely and positively for the people". This Member of parliament said.

 

Despite these  clarion calls and agitations Herackles had opened path ways in to the forest and is developing its palm oil planatation. Although this plantation project is heading forward,  local and international NGO's have been calling for the project to be brought to a hault. Irene Wabiwa is the forest campaigner for Green Peace Africa. Today Green Peace had requested  the Cameroon government to stop Herakles Farms because according to them Herackles  was jeopadizing the future of communities and the future  of Cameroon.

Green Peace in its initial steps had funded a local NGO  the Citizens Association  for the Defense of Colleective Interest  to under take a   research study on an alternative to the Herakles farms palm oil plantation in Cameroon.  Wabiwa recalled that the research project  suggested that  Cameroon could make do without the Herackles Farms. "A small scale farming  by communities is really a solution if goverment institutions and international donors supported and helped these communities to do their agriculture and improve technology. We  are sure  and Green Peace belives  that Agriculture done by communities can really be an alternative  solution for this kind  of Agro business that is a menace to communities and the environment" Irene Wabiwa of Green Peace Concluded..

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 06 December 2015 05:41
 

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