Regulating the Palm Oil Explosion and the Living Income Income Proposal


The current global ‘Palm Oil Explosion’ is an under-reported nightmare. Communities in the ‘global south’ are being pitted against large multinational corporations, banks, and the confusing and changing allegiances represented by the UN for rights to land usage to produce palm oil – resulting in the equivalent of 300 football fields of rainforest being cleared EVERY HOUR to make way for palm oil production. [1]

European financial institutions are behind a significant number of these land grabs. This massive, largely unregulated monoplanting of palm oil has destroyed and is destroying huge swatches of land in Africa, the Papuas of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, Malaysia and Indonesia. [2]

In one example, the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) provided a $52 million loan in Uganda to fund a project a palm oil mega farm to oil palm giant Wilmar International. The small community of farmers there were promised better jobs and prospects for the future. It did not happen. Now an entire forest (3600 acres) on a Lake Victoria island has been obliterated to establish a vast plantation The local farmers have received little to no compensation along with the loss of pristine land. [2]

In Liberia a community resisting big agra oil palm plantation on their land have been harassed, coerced and intimidated. “Many are standing firm,” says Silas Siakor, of SDI Liberia. Jogbahn Elder Joseph Chio Johnson said, [they] “must stop threatening our people and accept that our no means no.” [3] – See more at:

Such incidents are widespread and growing: new cases are reported to civil society organizations on a near-weekly basis in countries from Cambodia and Papua New Guinea to Indonesia, Myanmar and Nigeria.

Who is protecting the people who actually live on these lands? Who is overseeing UN IFED? The charter of UN IFED says it was created to “enable rural people to overcome poverty.” If we can’t rely on international organizations mandated to protect and assist indigenous people shouldn’t we rethink our international laws and constraints so that local communities do not lose access to vital land and water resources?  Why should local communities be left with permanent soil erosion, animal abuse, pesticides, deforestation, migratory labor and child labor that accompany monoculture plantations? We do know that the current industrial plantation model as it exists does not respect the rights of indigenous populations. Why not  learn from Africa’s indigenous populations who know how to grow and cultivate palm oil utilizing the common sense application of agroecology and biodiversity?

There is a common sense solution: The Living Income Guarantee proposes that the natural resources of a land and people belong to the people – the ones that live on it. “The nationalization of natural resources and connected enterprises provides an opportunity for the management of the country’s resources by the people of that country – and is, in fact, an extension of direct democracy.”

[1] The Ecologist: (
[2] Pampazuka News:
[3] Global


One thought on “Regulating the Palm Oil Explosion and the Living Income Income Proposal

  1. Pingback: 239. Is Boycotting the Way to Save the World ? | Marlen Vargas Del Razo

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