Peru: Indigenous community blocks expansion of United Cacao’s palm oil plantation after reported land devastation
Following complaints before the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil over alleged negative impacts by Plantaciones de Pucallpa (part of United Cacao Limited, a company owned by Dennis Melka), a palm oil plantation expansion has been blocked. The Shipibo indigenous community of Santa Clara, in the Amazon, has started a process to have their land rights entitlements officially recognized by the Government of Peru. The London Stock Exchange suspended United Cacao from its listings recently [includes video].
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Author: Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, RSPO
…The company concerned has been clearing community lands and destroying natural forests without any reference to RSPO standards. Aerial imagery and official government reports shows that over 5200 hectares of mostly primary forest has been felled since January 2013. Fire is being used to burn cleared timber and other vegetation. Valuable timber resources have also being sold. Community testimony reveals that the company acquired rights to the respective area without any process of engagement or FPIC with the community. Furthermore, the company has been clearing extensive areas of forest without any engagement with the local communities, laying waste to large areas of forest which the communities use for hunting, fishing and gathering and as a source of medicinal plants and materials for construction, killing local wildlife and destroying their vital habitats. The area in question has been historically occupied by residents and their fore-parents and includes the locations of numerous former settlements and farms that have since been left to become fallow. The operations have also extracted large volumes of important construction material from the river Aguaytia outside of the lands claimed by Plantaciones de Pucallpa and in the process used and degraded private tracks made by the community and exhausted the resources that the community depends on for their own constructions…14 October 2016…Plantaciones de Pucallpa divests its palm oil interests and withdraws from RSPO.
Author: RRI, Rights & Resources Initiative
Efforts in Peru helped safeguard the Shipibo community of Santa Clara de Unchunya against the expansion of a palm oil plantation on 38,745 hectares of community land in the Peruvian Amazon. These efforts also led to the suspension of the stock of the plantation’s parent company, United Cacao Limited SEZC, in the London Stock Exchange. United Cacao—a Dennis Melka company with operations in Peru (Plantaciones de Pucallpa S.A.C)—is responsible for the destruction of vast forests in the Peruvian Amazon and economic losses of approximately US$117 million. Due to international pressure, the managing director of United Cacao resigned on January 5, 2017…This important victory has made Santa Clara an emblematic case of the struggle of indigenous communities against the encroachment of palm oil. It has also contributed to the inclusion of Santa Clara de Uchunya in a list of priority communities awaiting formal titles from the government. Watch a video of community members describing the fight to protect their territories here.