September 21st: International Day of Struggle Against Monoculture Plantations

Today is ‘International Day of Struggle Against Monoculture Plantations’. World Rainforest Movement have produced a powerful video to highlight the Ugandan people’s struggle against BIDCO an international company partly owned by global palm oil giant Wilmar, who are taking land by force from locals by making false promises and using coercion and violence. They do so under the greenwashing protection of the RSPO

The video was produced by the Informal Alliance against Industrial Oil Palm Plantations in West and Central Africa and showcases community stories of resistance on Buvuma Island in Uganda.

Bidco/Wilmar are trying to expand their oil palm plantations on this ecologically important island which features many endangered species. They are making false promises and using coercion and violence in order to take land by force from local communities.  

Sept 21st is ‘International Day of Struggle Against Monoculture Plantations’. #Palmoil #corruption and violence is rife for @RSPOtweets “sustainable” palm oil. It is a greenwashing lie. Instead #Boycottpalmoil

Today is ‘International Day of Struggle Against Monoculture Plantations’. @RSPOtweets members quietly do #landgrabbing in Africa under the banner of “sustainable” #palmoil. Fight back and #Boycottpalmoil

Despite continuous media-based misinformation and greenwashing about the situation in Uganda, communities are determined to resist and raise awareness by exposing the corrupt and deceptive practices of the company so that other communities in Uganda and elsewhere in the world do not fall into the same traps.

A version of this article was originally published by World Rainforest movement, GRAIN and Farm Land Grab on the 12th September 2022 and is shared here under the Creative Commons licence. Read the original article.

Why are local communities and environmentalists worried about Buvuma, Uganda?

  • Ugandan environmentalists are alarmed by the prospect and are warning of the loss of biodiversity and possible extinction of species.
  • Investors want to establish 40,000 hectares in total of palm oil plantations. With 10,000 hectares of oil palm plantations on the ecologically significant Buvuma Island in Lake Victoria.

“People will be robbed of their land and forests and have this destroyed to plant oil palms, which massively degrades the island’s ecosystem,” Akiiza notes.

Environmentalist Joan Akiiza of the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE).
Photo_ Friends of the Earth Africa meet to discuss how the RSPO is not a solution for landgrabbing and violence
Photo_ Friends of the Earth Africa meet to discuss how the RSPO is not a solution for land grabbing and violence
  • On the island of Bugala, they have already destroyed 8,500 hectares of forest – and with it, destroyed the livelihoods of numerous families.
  • Villagers on Buvuma fear that they are next in line to have their land stolen and human rights trampled.

Bidco: false promises, coercion and land-grabbing in Uganda

Bidco is a multinational company that produces edible oils, detergents, soaps and margarine, is active in the Lake Victoria region. The company is partially owned by Wilmar International, a Singaporean palm oil giant that has been implicated in environmental destruction and human rights violations in numerous countries.

Foreign companies need the approval of the Ugandan government to access land. Since they are not allowed to own land by law, the government has been buying land from unsuspecting locals and leasing it to companies.

“High profile NDPE and RSPO policies contrast with Wilmar’s implementation on the ground and implementation in its whole supply chain”

Chain Reaction Research, July 2022
landgrabbing Illustration by GRAIN
landgrabbing Illustration by GRAIN

Wild animals in Buvuma Island, Uganda face an existential threat from palm oil

“Animals such as the colobus monkey could be wiped out if their forest habitat is destroyed. Many bird species have already disappeared”

Environmentalist Joan Akiiza of the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE).
Abyssinian Ground Hornbill a bird native to Uganda, Wikipedia.

How you can help

1. Share WRM’s tweet and video on Twitter

2. Boycott palm oil in the supermarket & #Boycott4Wildlife

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Published by Palm Oil Detectives

Hi, I’m Palm Oil Detective’s Editor in Chief. Palm Oil Detectives is partly a consumer website about palm oil in products and partly an online community for writers, scientists, conservationists, artists and musicians to showcase their work and express their love for endangered species. I have a strong voice for creatures great and small threatened by deforestation. With our collective power we can shift the greed of the retail and industrial agriculture sectors and through strong campaigning we can stop them cutting down forests. Be bold! Be courageous! Join the #Boycott4Wildlife and stand up for the animals with your supermarket choices

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