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Cameroon President allows Herakles Farms to exploit 20,000 hectares palm oil plantation despite opposition from some locals and conservation groups

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26 November 2013

Cameroon permits trimmed palm oil project by US firm Herakles

Author: Beaugas-Orain Djoyum, Bate Felix & James Jukwey, Reuters

Cameroon President Paul Biya has given final approval to...Herakles Capital to start work on a 20,000 hectares palm oil plantation, despite opposition from some locals and conservation groups. Herakles' palm oil project in...Cameroon has been mired in controversy after environmental campaigners including Greenpeace and WWF said it violated Cameroon's laws and could endanger wildlife and deprive locals of their livelihoods. The firm had initially planned for a 73,000 hectare plantation...The government asked Herakles...reduce the size of the plantation to 20,000 hectares. The decree signed by Biya...said Herakles can begin work on the reduced-size plantation after paying a 198 million CFA francs ($408,600) land tax and must invest about 260 billion CFA francs in the project. The company was not immediately available to comment. Greenpeace and Think Tank Oakland Institute said in a joint statement...the government approval of the project, although downsized, was alarming. "A downsized project does not resolve the problems related to the palm oil project by Herakles Farms [part of Herakles Capital]," said Irene Wabiwa, campaigner with Greenpeace Africa. "It simply remains the wrong project in the wrong place, as the impact on communities' livelihoods and the forests remain unacceptable."

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