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27 Dez 2012

Ethan Baron, Global Post [USA]

Palm oil industry accused of landgrabs in Liberia

In 2009, Liberia leased 771,000 acres of land to the Malaysian palm oil company Sime Darby for 63 years. In 2010, Golden Veroleum [Golden Agri-Resources is a major investor of Golden Veroleum] …received 865,000 acres for 65 years. No reliable estimates exist regarding numbers of people displaced. Villagers aren’t…directly forced off their land, but the companies “are cutting down so much cropland that people choose to leave,” said Jonathan Yiah, spokesperson for Liberian NGO Sustainable Development Institute (SDI)…[T]he Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI)…is currently investigating $8 billion in natural resource deals…for possible fraud and mismanagement…Opponents call the oil palm agreements land grabs and say many villagers are losing their livelihood…Sime Darby spokesman Carl Dagenhart acknowledged that the concession area belongs to those living in it…Dagenhart admitted that Sime Darby made mistakes early on, but said it is consulting communities and will allow them to decide where development takes place within the concession. [Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited the companies to respond. Sime Darby referred us to a previous statement. Golden Agri-Resources, Golden Veroleum Liberia respondes provided.]