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"Stop harvesting over the skulls of our ancestors!"


ACTION – Uproot Socapalm from sacred ground!


Residents of Mbonjo and Souza (Cameroon) protect their cemeteries from Socapalm’s encroaching oil palm plantations.

Cameroon - palm oil - Socfin

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Residents of Mbonjo and Souza (Cameroon) protect their cemeteries from Socapalm’s encroaching oil palm plantations.




It’s not the first time palm oil production has caused problems. It is well known that Indonesia and Malaysia cut down large parts of their tropical jungles to make way for oil palms, with major consequences for biodiversity and and the climate. But the residents of Mbonjo and Souza show how not only wildlife is suffering from the growing palm oil plantations.

Alphone Toko Sene, longtime resident of Mbonjo, can’t stand it anymore: when he walks to the cemetery to honor his aunt and uncle, he watches suspiciously as oil palms gain ground. The land is owned by Socapalm, a large Cameroonian agribusiness company, a subsidiary of Luxembourg-based Socfin. In 2010, Socapalm already managed nearly 80 thousand hectares of land in Cameroon, mostly in rural and remote areas, all of which are earmarked for palm oil production. Socapalm allows the inhabitants of Mbonjo to enter their cemetery for now, but in no way wants to cede the land under which the village’s ancestors are buried.

According to Socfin, Socapalm’s future is “inextricably linked to the sustainable development of local populations and economies.” Yet a different picture emerges when we listen to the residents of Mbonjo-Souza, namely that nature and residents must give way as much as possible to make way for the lucrative palm tree. Toko Sene: “Our loved ones are buried here. It is not normal for this place to be taken by the plantations of this agro-industrial company. We want them to respect our sacred places.”

Despite persistent complaints from Mbonjo-Souza, Socapalm even received the Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) label last year.

So time to move to action. With a 300-person demonstration and relatively high media coverage, residents in August managed to raise Socapalm’s hypocrisy, televise debates between village leaders and administrators, and sit down with Socapalm itself. The dialogue seems to have finally begun. Now it is to see if the residents manage to get their cemeteries back from the farm.