Latin America:news review in progress - Melka group plans to sell off its plantations, Global Witness finds Latin America most dangerous region for environmental activists

7 July 2016: news review in progress - Global Witness finds Latin America most dangerous region for environmental activists

Environmental Destruction, Land Grabs: Controversial Oil Palm Plantations in the Peruvian Amazon - Melka group plans to sell off its Plantations By Forest Peoples Programme Global Research, June 28, 2016

Latin America most dangerous region for environmentalists in 2015 by LINDSAY FENDT JUNE 19 2016 -- Latin America remains the most dangerous region for environmental activists, according to a new report from the U.K.-based watchdog group Global Witness. Now in its third iteration, the report, “On Dangerous Ground,” assembled information on the known worldwide murders of environmentalists and land defenders in 2015.  With 185 recorded deaths, 2015 was the deadliest year on record for environmentalists. “As demand for products like minerals, timber and palm oil continues, governments, companies and criminal gangs are seizing land in defiance of the people who live in it,” said Global Witness campaign leader Billy Kyte. “Communities that take a stand are increasingly finding themselves in the firing line of companies’ private security, state forces and a thriving market for contract killers.”  More than 65 percent of the murders tallied by Global Witness in 2015 occurred in Latin America, with 50 environmentalists killed in Brazil alone. Activists were also killed in Colombia, Peru, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. Most of the murders in the region stemmed from conflicts related to mining, agri-business and hydroelectric dams, according to Global Witness, with indigenous people disproportionality affected.

Amazon land tenure study wins top award - CIFOR scientists awarded for ground-breaking study on land tenure. by KATE EVANS  25 Jun 2016

Latin American Environmentalists Are Paying For Their Protests With Their Lives - A new report shows that Latin American activists make up the majority of those killed during an extremely deadly year for protesters. Jun. 20, 2016

17 Feb 2016: news review in progress - Agropalma's Faria, Colombia expects to add 150,000 hectares, Biosa moves into palm phytonutrients

Agropalma - Aloysio De Andrade Faria’s Journey to Become One of the Wealthiest Men in Brazil By Maureen Bongat Feb 10, 2016

Colombia to Expand Land Devoted to Palm Oil Industry over 3 Years BOGOTA February 16,2016 – Colombia expects to add 150,000 hectares (370,000 acres) to its palm oil plantations over the next three years, Agriculture Ministry permanent crops program coordinator William Granados Perez said Monday.... The Agriculture Ministry “plans to invest 1.6 trillion pesos (about $480 million) in this (three-year) period,” Granados said. Colombia has created a series of “special credit lines” to do this, the official said in his address to the forum....

Colombian Palm Oil Exports Up 10.4% BOGOTA February 16,2016  – Colombian palm oil exports increased 10.4 percent in 2015, the Andean nation’s deputy minister for Entrepreneurial Development said Monday. “We must keep working, the sector must increase its productivity since, although we’ve grown in extent, not at the same rhythm in productivity. We must focus ourselves on products with greater value added,” said Daniel Arango ...(Colombia),” which is the world’s fourth largest palm oil producer and the largest in Latin America..

New Models for Colombia Palm Industry to Be Discussed at EFE Forum in Bogota; These new models are based on the extraction of vitamins and phytonutrients from palm oil – an activity that experts say is 10 times more profitable than farming and refining operations – as well as the production of bio-lubricants. The market for palm oil phytonutrients is growing at an annual rate of 7 percent yet there is still not enough supply, partly because the extraction of this byproduct has always been in the hands of a small group of international companies. The phytonutrient business generates more than $1.7 billion annually and is mainly focused on palm oil’s tocotrienols and tocopherols (Vitamin E); its carotenes (Vitamin A), sterols and squalenes, which possess antioxidant, anti-cholesterol and immune-boosting properties that are incorporated into functional foods and beverages; and vitamin supplements and cosmetic products.... Hector Castro, the chief executive officer of Biosa, the first Latin American company to move into the business of extracting and selling palm oil phytonutrients; and Consuelo M. Ferrero, the CEO of Palmvit, a Spanish chemical engineering company that specializes in the extraction of vegetable phytonutrients....

13 December 2015: Issues in Honduras, NGOs worry about human right abuses in Lat Am palm oil

Analysis - Palm Oil’s Corporate Deception: Green-Washing a Dirty Industry 1 December 2015; .. The expansion of oil palm plantations around the tropical world presents a fierce assault on the climate in the name of corporate profits. While the industry green-washes palm oil under the guise of biofuels and so-called sustainable development, digging behind the corporate myths reveals a complex mess of deforestation, pollution, “carbon debt,” and destruction of biodiversity, wildlife habitat, and food security, often along with grave human rights abuses. ....Activists have slammed the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm, which purports to promote “sustainable development” and “green energy” through oil palm expansion, as “window dressing” to cover up the environmentally-destructive monopolization of land and resources and for turning a blind eye to land grabbing and grave abuses of human rights perpetrated by the industry.  According to Kerssen, author of “Grabbing Power: The new struggles for land, food, and democy in Northern Honduras,” biofuel uses actually makes up a small portion of the palm oil agricultural portfolio, which as a flex crop bends to where it maximizes corporate profits....

NGOs call for end to human rights abuses in the Latin American palm oil sector by Jennifer Kennedy | 19th November 2015

Illegal Deforestation of Peru’s Amazon, 5000 Hectares for Palm Oil: Peruvian Indigenous Leader 2 Nov 2015,

19 October 2015: Guatemala suspension and activists kidnap


Guatemalan Court Orders Palm Company to Suspend Operations  by Jeff Abbott      Thursday, 24 September 2015 13:35 A Guatemalan judge has ordered the oil palm company Reforestadora Palma de Petén S.A. (REPSA), to suspend operations at their Sayaxché palm plantation, pending an investigation into the environmental disaster in the Pasión River, which led to the death of millions of fish in May and June of 2015. The court’s September 17th order states that the firm must suspend operations for 6 months....

Guatemala: Activists Kidnapped in Palm Oil Region  Published 18 September 2015 Three members from the Guatemala’s Council of Displaced Peoples, CONDEG, were kidnapped on Thursday in the palm oil producing town of Petén.   Local human rights organization, UDEFEGUA, issued a press release Thursday denouncing inaction on the part of local authorities following the disappearance.  “We reiterate and demand immediate action by the authorities to ensure the security, life and physical integrity of the human rights defenders,” the statement read.   Police officials have not identified any suspects or persons of interest involved in the incident.  According to local media reports, the kidnappers are demanding the reversal of a Guatemalan court ruling, which ordered local palm oil manufacturer Repsa to temporarily halt its operations due to unethical environmental practices.

22 August 2015: Colombia indigenous territory, Guatemala's Pasion River, REDD+ in Brazil, Can Latin America do palm oil right?

Oil Palm Plantations in Colombia Expand into Indigenous Territory - Native Cultures’ Sikuani and Jiw Sacred Sites and Livelihoods at Risk by Environmental Investigation AgencyAugust 11, 2015; WASHINGTON, D.C.—A new video released this weekend from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) to commemorate the UN’s Day of the World’s Indigenous People, shows the devastating effects of the growing palm oil sector on the lands and rights of farmers and indigenous peoples in Colombia. Currently the world’s fourth largest oil palm producer, Colombia is promoting both national and international investment in this sector, and has been opening the country’s vast eastern plains (llanos) to companies expanding their palm plantations. EIA’s video, “Between Water and Oil Palm,” is a collaboration with Colombian group La Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz (Justicia y Paz) and has documented how investments have come at the expense of indigenous rights in Mapiripán, Meta, Colombia. One company, the Italian-owned Poligrow Ltd, has prohibited the Jiw and Sikuani indigenous communities from using traditional hunting and fishing lands, and prevented access to a culturally revered site, Las Toninas—a lake considered sacred and home to pink dolphins. The Jiw report that no free, prior, or informed consultation has taken place regarding Poligrow’s operations and that the company’s expansion limits their right to freedom of movement....

Impact of 'Ecocide' in Guatemala's Pasion River Runs Deep Published 22 July 2015 (2 hours 38 minutes ago); The United Nations said 23 species of fish have been affected by contamination caused by industrial African oil palm production. The United Nations expressed concern Tuesday about serious contamination of Guatemala's Pasion River and the risks the environmental damage poses to thousands of families.

REDD+ in Brazil: Coordination needed. 12 Aug 2015 BY Barbara Fraser   Brazilian government policies tackling deforestation (most often caused by farming and cattle ranching) are being undermined by lack of coordination and communication, says a new CIFOR study. Photo: CIFOR Farming and ranching remain the main drivers of deforestation in Brazil, a new study from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has found. But any new government policy to combat the problem may be undermined by lack of coordination and communication, says one of the study’s authors, Monica Di Gregorio, a senior CIFOR associate. Sharing information and coordinating efforts are crucial for implementing policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), the study claims.

Can Latin America do palm oil right? As western hemisphere oil palm plantations boom, environmentalists eye ways to avoid repeating the devastation in Southeast Asia. WriterDuncan Gromko  @dgromko Climate change associate, Inter-American Development Bank; Latin America currently accounts for just 6 percent of global palm oil production, compared to 85 to 90 percent for Indonesia and Malaysia — but production is growing fast.
A 2014 study by Juan Luis Dammert, Ph.D. candidate at the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University in Massachusetts, summarized oil palm growth in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Colombia is the region’s largest palm oil producer and is among the top five producers worldwide, with nearly 500,000 hectares (more than 1 million acres) of oil palm as of 2012 and plans to increase production sixfold by 2020, which would require 3 million hectares (7 million acres) of plantations. Palm oil production in Ecuador has grown 7 percent per year over the past decade, with 250,000 hectares (620,000 acres) in productionMuch of the recent expansion is driven by government programs to support oil palm in order to promote rural development. as of 2010. Peru has less palm oil than Colombia and Ecuador with 55,000 hectares (140,000 acres) as of 2011, but more than doubled production between 2006 and 2012. Companies have requested permission to plant oil palm on approximately 100,000 hectares (more than 200,000 acres) in the Peruvian state of Loreto alone....