Guatemala: Expansion of palm oil industry causes conflict, environmental damage and migration

Author: Al Jazeera, Published on: 9 February 2019

“Palm oil industry expansion spurs Guatemala indigenous migration”, 6th February 2019

Q'eqchi' communities throughout eastern and northern Guatemala face a similar predicament. Families do not have enough land to survive from subsistence and market agriculture. The land in Q'eqchi' territory is largely in the hands of ranchers, large landowners and mining and palm companies. Land inequality and conflicts, low wages on plantations, food insecurity and displacement have fuelled migration from Guatemalan farming communities…Plantations of oil palm…are taking over large swaths of southwestern and northeastern Guatemala…Land, labour and environmental conflicts around oil palm plantations worldwide have sparked consumer campaigns to push companies to remove palm oil from their products' ingredients…The rapid expansion there has intensified and sparked land conflicts, water shortages and labour disputes…The rapid expansion of palm and sugar cane has devastated local farming communities, according to Abelino Mejia, a community leader…"Before there was palm and before there was sugar cane, which are the principal crops in the Champerico area, we farmed watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, tomato, chile, papaya and other crops that helped our families subsist and also generated work," Mejia told…With the wages failing to nourish their families and growing plantations harming their farms, small-scale farmers have banded together to fight for access to land and water…

Read the full post here