Communities in Africa fight back against the land grab for palm oil

September 2019
The Alliance Against Industrial Plantations in West and Central Africa

This report on the state of industrial oil palm plantations in West and Central Africa shows how communities are turning the tide on a massive land grab in the region. Between 2000 and 2015 companies signed oil palm plantation concession agreements with African governments covering over 4.7 million hectares, mostly without the knowledge of the affected communities. These companies are now struggling. There has been a significant decline in the number and total area of land deals for industrial oil palm plantations over the past five years, from 4.7 to a little over 2.7 million hectares. Only 220,608 hectares has been converted to oil palm plantations or been replanted with new palms during the past decade. Struggles by communities to defend their lands has been key to slowing this expansion. The report highlights how small-scale systems of oil palm cultivation are thriving across Africa while the corporate model is failing, and calls for an immediate ban on all future large-scale oil palm plantation projects and a halt to those currently being implemented. Where large-scale plantations already exist, the report calls for the lands to be returned to the control of the local communities.