Cameroon: Report raises environmental, social concerns regarding Herakles Farms palm oil project

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Article
1 May 2012

Herakles Farms - Report by Centre for Environment & Development (Cameroon)

Author: compiled by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

In February 2012, the Cameroonian NGO Centre for Environment & Development (CED) published a report...regarding Herakles Farms (part of Herakles Capital) and its...subsidiary, SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon. The...report...raises concerns about...displacement of small-scale subsistence farmers from arable lands, food insecurity, lack of jobs sufficient to cancel the loss of farmland, environmental damage, access to water, and inconsistency and lack of transparency in environmental and social impact assessments...[It also] analyses the agreement between the company and the government, raising concerns such as...inconsistency of certain provisions with Cameroon's international legal obligations... [response by Herakles Farms provided]
Update (Apr-Jun 2012): A Cameroonian lawyer...issued a rejoinder to Herakles Farms' response, accompanied by copies of two judgments by Cameroonian courts. We invited Herakles Farms/Herakles Farms to respond to these documents as well as an article in AlterNet; it did not respond.

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Company response
28 March 2012

Response by Sustainable Oils Cameroon (part of Herakles Farms): NGO raises environmental, displacement concerns over project by company.

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Company response
20 March 2012

A Response to Inquiries Regarding the Sustainability and Intentions of the Herakles Farms SG Sustainable Oils Project in Southwest Cameroon

Author: Herakles Farms

...Herakles Capital has identified food security as one of the major issues, and responding to the interest of the Government of Cameroon in being self-sufficient in basic food staples, Herakles Capital launched the SGSOC project in 2009...we are able to sell as much of the product locally as we would like. This was important in order to pursue our food security theme, as there is clearly local demand for the product...These agreements commit Herakles Farms to: -planting on land where villages and farms currently exist...assisting local authorities in enforcing a no-poaching policy in the concession area and the neighboring Korup National Park, not by arresting or detaining offenders directly, but by reporting incidents to the appropriate authorities for their enforcement...Herakles Farms will not in any case arrest or detain people, contrary to what some sources are suggesting..developing detailed Environmental Management Plans...supporting agricultural smallholder schemes...prioritize sourcing labor locally...We highly respect the local people and are committed to coming to a mutual understanding whenever this is a concern...we recognize the value of the environment which surrounds us, its importance to the local people and to the global community...

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Article
27 February 2012

Herakles' 13th Labour? A Study of SGSOC’s Land Concession in South-West Cameroon

Author: Centre for Environment & Development [Cameroon]

On September 17th 2009 SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon PLC (SGSOC) signed a contract with the Cameroonian Government to develop a large industrial palm oil plantation and refinery. SGSOC is 100% owned by the American company Herakles Farms...SGSOC’s project has been the subject of great controversy over the last two years. Local communities, conservation groups, and NGOs have expressed opposition to the project due to its numerous negative social and environmental impacts.

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