Tag Archives: Liberia

When our land is free, we’re all free

By Silas Kpanan’Ayoung Siakor and Jacinta Fay, May 7, 2014. Source: Sustainable Development Institute/Friends of the Earth

On 6-8 May 2014 agribusiness corporations are courting African governments at the Grow Africa Investment Forum in Abuja, Nigeria to ‘further accelerate sustainable agricultural growth in Africa’.
Corporations’ interest in agriculture in Africa has certainly accelerated corporate control of land and seeds but done little to support agriculture that will feed the continent. Rather than support family farming and smallholder agriculture private sector investment in agriculture has resulted in grabbing land from communities; the land which they farm sustainably and rely on for their survival.

Communities are resisting this corporate takeover of their land and they are winning. All over Africa people are sending a clear message to their governments; stop selling Africa to corporations. The Jogbahn Clan in Liberia is one such community and here is their story.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, Green Economy, Land Grabs, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests

European investments assist land grabs for palm oil in Liberia

June 14, 2013. Source: Friends of the Earth International

Photo: Sarawak Report

Photo: Sarawak Report

BRUSSELS/MONROVIA – European banks, pension funds and private equity funds have given financial assistance worth more than €450 million to Malaysian palm oil giant Sime Darby, responsible for environmental degradation and violations of national regulations in Liberia, according to new research from Friends of the Earth Europe.

An independent impact assessment released today (Monday 24th) by Reading University reveals that Sime Darby operations could lead to a loss of biodiversity, food sources and livelihoods – leading to chronic poverty. There would also be significant environmental impacts with the loss of primary and secondary forest.

Silas Kpanan’Ayoung Siakor, campaigner for Friends of the Earth Liberia said: “Investments in agriculture can benefit the poor, but the reality in Liberia is very different. Farmers are losing their land and livelihoods, the rights of those living in poverty in rural areas are being violated, and the forests on which communities depend are increasingly threatened. I see no guarantees that rural communities will benefit in any meaningful way from investments in palm oil.”

Sime Darby, which receives financial assistance from European banks and pension funds including the Norwegian pension fund, UK-based Schroder investment management and Dutch funds PfZW, has signed a 63-year lease with the government of Liberia for 311,187 hectares to grow palm oil, according to Friends of the Earth Liberia and allies. Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Land Grabs, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests

Sinar Mas firm to invest $1.6 billion in Liberian palm oil

By Mariel Grazella, March 26 2013. Source: The Jakarta Post

SInar Mas plantations in Indonesia. Photo: Reuters

SInar Mas plantations in Indonesia. Photo: Reuters

Sinar Mas Group says it will invest US$1.6 billion in the Liberian palm oil business to expand operations overseas.

Franky Oesman Widjaja, the CEO of Golden-Agri Resources Ltd. (GAR), a key Sinar Mas Group business unit, said that the company would disburse the funds over eight to 10 years.

“So far, we have put in about $100 million,” he said during a meeting with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Monday in Jakarta.

Franky said that the investment was appealing and would boost the company’s image.

Golden-Agri Resources has been seeking to become a virtual king in the market as it attempts to acquire to 40,000 hectares of new concessions, mostly in Kalimantan. Continue reading

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Video: Environmental crime: In pursuit of the palm oil industry in Liberia

Source: Basta! and Les Amis de la Terre (France)

Palm oil is massively imported into Europe, to be used for food and biofuels. A new refinery might be established in Port la Nouvelle (Aude – South of France), supported by local authorities (or local governments) like the Languedoc Roussillon region.

In West Africa, where palm oil is produced, land grabbing by multinationals and the expropriation of people are skyrocketing. Basta! pursued the business of palm oil to Liberia.

The Malaysian transnational company Sime Darby has grabbed more than 300 000 hectares in Liberia to produce palm oil for European markets, engendering a quite strong social opposition there. Continue reading

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BREAKING NEWS: Land grabs and human rights violations exposed in Liberia ahead of global development summit

Note:  Liberian NGOs are calling for comprehensive agricultural reform in the face of human rights abuses committed by agribusiness giant Sime Darby, which produces 6 % of the world’s crude palm oil.  Sime Darby is accused of failing to protect the rights of communities, allowing involuntary replacement of communities that impede their palm oil plantation operations, and violating several international processes and guidelines.  Visit Friends of the Earth International for more information.

-The GJEP Team

February 1, 2013.  Source: Friends of the Earth International

Screenshot-MVI_2127.MOV-1

Palm oil companies are grabbing more than 1.5 million acres of land in Liberia and are violating human rights of local communities, warn Liberian NGOs including Friends of the Earth Liberia (SDI – Sustainable Development Institute), Save My Future Foundation (SAMFU) and Social Entrepreneurs for Sustainable Development (SESDev).

On the eve of a United Nations meeting in Liberia, that will discuss a new global development framework, Friends of the Earth International is backing the local NGOs’ demands – including renegotiation of contracts for land concessions and a reassessment of the Liberian agricultural development strategy on which these concessions are based.

Malaysian palm oil giant Sime Darby and Indonesian Golden Veloreum have entered into long term land leases with the Liberian Government. Investigations into Sime Darby’s operations reveal that communities located in the areas allocated to the company had little warning or consultation of this land grab. Many of the inhabitants, especially women, say they have lost their farms and food sources, livelihoods, as well as culturally sacred sites to oil palm plantations. 

An analysis of the contracts between the Liberian Government and the Asian companies demonstrates they are likely to be violating several Human Rights conventions ratified by Liberia. 
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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs

New oil palm land grabs exposed: Asian palm oil companies run into trouble in Africa

1 November 2012–Indonesia’s largest palm oil company, Sinar Mas, ran into trouble recently when communities in Liberia complained[1] about a 33,000 hectare operation being developed on their lands by its indirectly-owned subsidiary, Golden Veroleum in Butaw District, Sinoe County. Alfred Brownell, the lawyer from Green Advocates representing the Kru tribes impacted by the project who is attending the 10th Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RT10) being held in Singapore this week noted:

Golden Veroleum is in clear violation of the RSPO’s New Planting Procedure as it has not advertised its plans to clear and plant oil palms and carry out and publicise a High Conservation Value Assessment in advance of expanding its operations. Under the RSPO procedure, the company should now cease clearance until due process is followed. The villagers are concerned that their lands are being taken without their fully informed or free consent.

This is the second palm oil development involving a prominent RSPO member to run into controversy in Liberia. Last year, a subsidiary of Malaysia’s largest palm oil consortium, Sime Darby, was criticised for expanding its operations without respecting local peoples’ rights. The company was in the early stages of developing a 220,000 ha. operation but was halted in its tracks by complaints,[2] which, to its credit, the company has responded to by entering into dialogue with the communities.[3]

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Filed under Africa, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Greenwashing, Illegal logging, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests