Local land rights may be in danger from push for palm oil in Liberia
The rights of local and indigenous peoples aren’t being adequately protected in the drive for economic development, according to a report published in February by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), a coalition of forest-oriented organizations. For a place like Liberia, reeling from both decades of persistent poverty and the recent Ebola epidemic that’s estimated, according to the World Bank, to have chipped hundreds of millions of dollars from the region’s economies (if not more), economic development seems critical at just about any cost.
Instead of staking the success of Liberia’s economy on palm oil, the price of which has dipped more than 40 percent in the past four years, the Rights and Resources Initiative contends that investing in small-scale farmers to help them move from subsistence farming into cash crop production is the way to “upgrade” developing economies.
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LifeMosaic, in partnership with Friends of the Earth and Sawit Watch, coordinated a project aimed at bringing critical information about the impacts of oil palm to communities in plantation expansion areas, enabling them to make informed decisions about their lands and their futures.
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