Industrial palm oil development in Cameroon is the threat to the natural forests and their unique biodiversity. Forests and natural parks of Cameroon (Ebo Forest, Korup National Park) are a “harbour” for over 600 species of trees, nearly 200 reptiles and amphibians, 1000 butterflies, 400 species of birds, and 160 species of mammals, including 14 species of primates with the endangered red-colobus monkeys, Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee and the drill, a baboon-like monkey that until the 1980s was considered by scientists as extinct.
From 2009, on the palm oil market in Cameroon, thanks to minister’s decision “to award a 99-year lease of 73000 hectares” (according to the Cameroonian law, the Government can grant and only temporally the land smaller than 50 hectares) Sithe Global Sustainable Oils Cameroon, a subsidiary of US agribusiness Herakles Farms, started its work. In spite of numerous reports from Greenpeace, saying that 89% of the land is “dense natural forests”, and local protests (one of the most prominent is Besingi’s campaign) against non-transparent plans of the company, land conflicts, the company is still promising “jobs and other livelihoods to a largely-impoverished region”, and the unsustainability of the projecs leads to the continuous deforestation of the region.
Recently, another national palm oil company Azur started its preparation to launch palm oil plantation on 123000 hectares.