Liberia: Community members not included in agreements leading to getting land for oil palm plantations
Author: Joaquin M. Sendolo, Daily Observer (Liberia), Published on: 4 December 2019
‘Communities Remain Below the Ladder in W/A Oil Palm Industry’ 2 December 2019
As the oil palm industry becomes attractive to West Africa because of its humid climate, and fertile soil, inhabitants of communities wherein the investment goes on remain in tears as their land is grabbed randomly thus leaving them with limited accessibility to their own land. At a recently held regional dialogue organized by the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) that brought together representatives of advocacy groups from Liberia, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Cameroon, it was unveiled that in most of the agreements leading to getting land for oil palm plantations, community members are left unaware. Instead, they are startled by the movement of bulldozers clearing their land, and this has resulted to conflicts between investors and the communities.
…Community dwellers, who rely on the land for farming and other sacred activities complain that companies were clearing their land indiscriminately without respect for protected forest and sacred destinations. The regional dialogue held from November 27 to 28, 2019, aimed to assess the impact of the project launched on January 15 this year with the aim to Improving Communication and Understanding of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Standard, and mechanisms and their application in Liberia and at the regional level.”
…It further called for expansion of a large scale mono-culture; ensure that oil palm companies respect the collective rights of customary land owners and users and operate in a way that enables communities to secure benefits from their resource; ensure access to information through robust monitoring and reporting of oil palm companies’ compliance to national laws, and international standards as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, and ensure that women and other marginalized people have their rights respected, including access and equal participation in natural resource management with specific focus on land.