New plantings news: Philippines - Farmers, indigenous peoples thumb down expansion of oil palm plantations , PM Modi wants 2 million ha of oil palm in Maharastra and Karnataka, India

Cheaper satellite imagery, the latest online tools and dedicated NGOs are raising ever more awareness on new oil palm plantings. There is expected to be a rise in the complaints against new plantings. Notably, there are interesting categories of forest put on popular online maps - for instance, "primary degraded forest" and more.

18 July 2016: News update

New Study recommends more sustainable approach to commercial agriculture in PNG June 6, 2016 Posted by PNG Today http://news.pngfacts.com/2016/06/new-study-recommends-more-sustainable.html#ixzz4EiRY396d

Palm oil drive under review in Tanintharyi By Aye Nyein Win   |   11 July 2016 -- The government had planned to plant 500,000 acres (200,000 hectares) of oil palm in the region, rising to 700,000 acres by 2030, he said. But yields have been lower than expected due to a failure to carry out proper research, while controversies over land use have led to disputes with local residents http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/business/21301-palm-oil-drive-under-review-in-tanintharyi.html

Dawei locals launch campaign against Chinese oil refinery plans   By Nick Baker and Su Phyo Win   |   11 May 2016 -- This palm oil plantation owned by military-run Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited is planned as the site of the country’s biggest oil refinery, behind Tizit beach near Dawei.  http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/business/20230-dawei-locals-launch-campaign-against-chinese-oil-refinery-plans.html

13 December 2015: Philippines - Farmers, indigenous peoples thumb down expansion of oil palm plantations

Philippines - Farmers, indigenous peoples thumb down expansion of oil palm plantations November 5, 2015  By RONALYN V. OLEA Bulatlat.com MANILA – About a hundred farmers and indigenous peoples voiced out their opposition to the expansion of oil palm plantations in the country. In a conference held Nov. 4 at a makeshift tent set up in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the farmers and indigenous people from Mindanao, Bohol and Palawan thumbed down the government’s plan to devote eight million hectares of land for oil palm by 2023. - See more at: http://bulatlat.com/main/2015/11/05/farmers-indigenous-peoples-thumb-down-expansion-of-oil-palm-plantations/#sthash.9LMvGT8U.dpuf

Mindanao land grabs to worsen w/ govt 1-M has. palm oil expansion plan Oct 27, 2015 .... “Attacks against the people who defend their lands continue to intensify as land grabbing in Mindanao also worsen due to government policies allowing the massive conversion of agricultural and ancestral lands,” said KMP Chair and Anakpawis Partylist President Rafael Mariano.... http://www.boholnewstoday.com/201510/mindanao-land-grabs-to-worsen-w-govt-1-m-has-palm-oil-expansion-plan.html

20 August 2015: PM Modi wants 2 million ha of oil palm in Maharastra and Karnataka, India

PM Narendra Modi to bet $1.5 billion on palm oil plan as imports surge By Reuters | 18 Aug, 2015, 03.33PM IST India plans to spend $1.5 billion in the next three years to help farmers grow oil palm trees in (on 2 million hectares in Maharashtra and Karnataka)... Modi is targeting India's $10 billion import bill for edible oils, its third-highest overseas spend after oil and gold, and has already been considering buying oilseeds directly from farmers and boosting government support for grow .. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/48525616.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

23 June 2015: Ta Ann new NCR JV for 60% stake in 17,000 ha (60% plantable; Sibu and Kapit area) replaces 2012 agreements revoked for lack of land owners' interest; BLD questioned over new planting plan and NGO asks for "no deforestation, no peatland" policy - /khorreports-palmoil/2014/11/rspo-meeting-sabah-considering-100.html

10 June 2015: Is oil palm the answer for rural poverty in Papua?

Is oil palm the answer for rural poverty in Papua? Agustina YS Arobaya and Freddy Pattiselanno, Manokwari | Opinion | Tue, June 09 2015, 6:25 AM .Indonesian oil palm plantations have now reached more than 10 million hectares, making the country the world’s largest palm oil producer with an annual output of around 23 million tons. In Papua, the oil palm industry started in the 1980s — when state-owned PTPN II started an oil palm business in Arso and Prafi. The oil palm plantation was firstly intended to facilitate the transmigration program from other parts of Indonesia. A large part of the plantation is designed for a smallholder scheme allowing transmigrant families, mostly from Java and West Timor, together with Papuan customary land owners, to be allocated 2 hectares of oil palm per family and to sell their produce to the company.Presently as space becomes limited in western Indonesia, investors are increasingly looking to the east for new land. Data from the West Papua Oil Palm Atlas show that currently there are 21 companies starting operations in Papua. Twenty other companies are in an advanced stage of the permit process and appear to be almost ready to start land clearing whilst dozens more are still applying for the permits they need. - See more at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/06/09/is-oil-palm-answer-rural-poverty-papua.html#sthash.J3boVDme.dpuf

7 June 2015:  Oil Palm Could Revitalize Colombian Agriculture - news link

Oil Palm Could Revitalize Colombian Agriculture RESTREPO, Colombia – Production of oil palm has the potential to become a growth engine for Colombian agriculture, the president of the National Federation of Oil Palm Growers, or Fedepalma, told Efe.
“Palm is one of the best positioned alternatives for the future development of Colombian farming,” Lens Mesa said, pointing out that the crop already accounts for 6 percent of Colombia’s agricultural gross domestic product.

28 May 2015: FGV to supply 1.1 million seeds oil palm seeds in Mindanao

FGV to supply premier oil palm seeds in Mindanao Monday, 25 May 2015 KUALA LUMPUR: Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) subsidiary Felda Agriculture Services Sdn Bhd (FASSB) has ventured into the Philippine market to supply its premier oil palm seeds to planters in Mindanao. FASSB signed a Memorandum of Collaboration with the Philippines' Bali Oil Palm Produce Corporation (BOPPC) recently to explore the possibility of collaborating in agriculture-related products and services, said FGV in a statement here.  Under the collaboration, which will be a springboard for Mindanao to become one of the major world-class palm oil exporters together with FGV and other top world producers, FASSB is committed to delivering the first oil palm seeds to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and BOPPC this year. It is also to deliver 110,000 and one million DxP oil palm germinated seeds to PCA and BOPPC respectively, commencing June this year.
FGV produces over 25 million seeds annually and its export markets include  Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Honduras, Cambodia, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia,  Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Gabon.

24 May 2015:  Indian edible oil industry tries to increase oil palm plantation in North East India

Indian edible oil industry tries to increase oil palm plantation in North East India By ET Bureau | 21 May, 2015, 03.52PM IST Arunachal Pradesh has a potential of nearly 1.20 lakh hectare of oil palm plantation.Arunachal Pradesh has a potential of nearly 1.20 lakh hectare of oil palm plantation. PUNE: The edible oil industry in the country is exploring the possibility of increasing oil palm cultivation in the North East. It has asked for transport and plantation material subsidies to boost its cultivation in the region.  A seven members team of SEA under Leadership of Dr. Anupam Barik, Additional Commissioner (Oilseeds), Ministry of Agriculture visited North East states of Mizoram, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh during May 10 and May 15, 2015 to evaluate the scope from oil palm cultivation.  Oil palm cultivation in some of North East states has good potential. Mizoram has already taken initiative and nearly 20,000 hectares are under oil palm plantation having potential to expand to 80,000 hectares.  Similarly Arunachal Pradesh has a potential of nearly 1.20 lakh hectare of oil palm plantation. Assam too offers good potential for oil palm plantation and beginning is already done. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/cons-products/food/indian-edible-oil-industry-tries-to-increase-oil-palm-plantation-in-north-east-india/articleshow/47371045.cms

22 May 2015: 9,400 hectares of closed-canopy Amazonian rainforest removed for two oil palm plantations in the Peruvian region of Ucayali since 2011 - MAAP study; linked to Dennis Melka / United Cacao - Mongabay

Primary rainforest cleared for massive palm oil plantations in Peru by  John C. Cannon  May 20, 2015; More than 9,400 hectares of closed-canopy Amazonian rainforest has been removed for two oil palm plantations in the Peruvian region of Ucayali since 2011, according to scientists working for MAAP, the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project. The two plantations are linked to Czech entrepreneur Dennis Melka.  Melka is the CEO of United Cacao, a Cayman Islands-based company that has been accused by scientists and NGOs of clearing more than 2,000 hectares of primary forest for a cacao plantation in another part of Peru while claiming to espouse a “sustainable” approach. He is also the founder, director, chairman, and CEO of United Oils, headquartered in the Cayman Islands according to some associates, and is a Singapore-based “palm oil refiner” according to others. Based on the public statements of at least one American investor, it appears that United Oils has also claimed that its operations are also sustainable.  Based on an analysis of satellite images going back to 1990, a total of 12,188 total hectares of standing forest had been leveled through the end of April, MAAP reported on April 27. MAAP is an initiative by a group of scientific and conservation organizations to accessibly present technical information about threats to the Amazon.  Seventy-seven percent of the total deforested area had not been cleared – in other words, it had been primary forest – for at least the last 25 years. Nearly another 20 percent, or around 2,300 hectares, was secondary forest that had been cleared at one time but had since grown back, the analysis showed.
Read more: http://news.mongabay.com/2015/0520-mrn-gfrn-cannon-amazon-forest-cleared-for-palm-oil.html#ixzz3ap57Gkgh

The new name behind the threat to Cameroon’s Forests, Feature story - May 6, 2016 -- After the slowdown of the destructive Herakles Farms palm oil project in Cameroon, following extensive environmental and social opposition, we had hope for the future. However, it now looks like the infamous operation is being resurrected under a new identity, with ambitions to to destroy vast areas of forest and local community land. Since 2013, Greenpeace and other local and international organizations have been sounding the alarm over the Herakles Farms palm oil project in Cameroon’s Southwest Region While nobody was looking, Herakles Farms appears to have sold its palm oil project to new investors.  Reports from local workers and villagers pinpoint this transition to the summer of 2015, however according to company filings, it was not until November that a British man, Jonathan Johnson Watts, was named the new Chairman and General Manager of the SGSOC plantation. Jonathan Johnson Watts is no stranger to taking over struggling palm oil projects.  Watts was also involved in the purchase of a struggling palm oil project in Ghana, which as it turns out, was also sold to him by its previous owner, Herakles Farms a few years ago. The Volta Red plantation, as it is now know, is growing and palm oil production has begun.... http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/en/News/news/The-New-Name-Behind-the-threat-to-Cameroons-Forests/

Unprecedented deforestation in old Herakles plantation, now under new management 6 May 2016 / John C. Cannon -- After a spate of inactivity, a palm oil plantation in western Cameroon has come back to life. https://news.mongabay.com/2016/05/unprecedented-deforestation-old-herakles-plantation-now-new-management/

9 March 2015: Palm oil firms in Peru plan to clear 23,000 hectares of primary forest

Palm oil firms in Peru plan to clear 23,000 hectares of primary forest by David Hill Saturday 7 March 2015 21.14 GMT; Four oil palm plantations connected to the same company are proposed for Peru’s northern Amazon.... Operations on two plantations called Maniti and Santa Cecilia which would involve clearing more than 9,300 hectares of primary forest could start imminently following a recent government decision.... “We’ve done an extensive analysis of satellite images of the project area and conclude that 84.6% of Maniti and Santa Cecilia is primary forest,” says a media statement from the Association for the Conservation of the Amazon Basin (ACCA), in Peru, and the Amazon Conservation Association (ACA), in the US. “That means deforesting 9,343 hectares - almost 13,000 football pitches - of primary forest!”... The companies involved in Maniti and Santa Cecilia, Islandia Energy and Palmas del Amazonas, are both receiving “technical and financial support” from Palmas del Espino, the leader in Peru’s oil palm industry and part of the country’s powerful Romero Group.
While the area under oil palm cultivation in Peru is much less than neighbouring Ecuador and Colombia, or other countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia, expansion in recent years has been dramatic. The national and some regional governments have taken steps to promote and incentivise cultivation and almost 1.5 million hectares have been identified as potentially suitable, leading some people to see oil palm as now one of the biggest threats to the Peruvian Amazon.... http://www.theguardian.com/environment/andes-to-the-amazon/2015/mar/07/palm-oil-peru-23000-hectares-primary-forest

Philippines palm oil: 1 million hectare oil palm hopes center on Caraga? FGV, NBPOL, Pertamina, PTPN among key intended FDI players?

19 April 2015: 1 million hectare oil palm hopes center on Caraga? FGV, NBPOL, Pertamina, PTPN among key intended FDI players?

Caraga eyed for oil palm amid 1-M-hectare target for Mindanao By Carmelito Q. Francisco, Correspondent  April 05, 2015 08:18:00 PM; DAVAO CITY -- Mindanao authorities are looking at developing about a million hectares for oil palm farming with about a third of the total area in the Caraga Region.... The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), through Public Affairs Division Chief Romeo M. Montenegro, said Caraga can become the center of oil palm production in Mindanao as studies show the climate and soil condition in parts of the region, particularly in the Agusan provinces, are ideal for both nurseries and farms. Caraga is composed of 5 provinces: Agusan del Norte and Sur, Surigao del Norte and Sur, and the Dinagat Islands..... About 60,000 hectares in Mindanao have so far been developed for oil palm production, a large portion of which are in Caraga and some in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, according to MinDA data.....  The industry has become “exciting”, said Mr. Montenegro, as nine companies from Malaysia and Indonesia, the two biggest oil palm producers and exporters, have signaled their intention to invest.
Among these companies are Felda Global Ventures, New Britain Palm Oil Ltd.-PNG, Pertamina-Indonesia, Perkebunan Nusantara-Indonesia, and Bali Palm Oil-Indonesia
..... Officials of Felda, the Malaysian government’s Federal Land Development Authority, have visited Mindanao twice in recent months to look into investment possibilities in Mindanao..... In Davao City, oil palm projects are being eyed in the remote agricultural districts, particularly in Marilog, including some areas covered by Certificates of Ancestral Domain held by various indigenous communities.....
The Philippine Palm Oil Development Council is also pushing for the expansion of the industry in Mindanao, saying it can potentially match the importance of coconut, the country’s top agricultural export commodity..... http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=caraga-eyed-for-oil-palm-amid-1-m-hectare-target-for-mindanao&id=105484