(Business in Cameroon) - The international NGO, Greenpeace, announced on August 20, 20145, that a cargo of 3,000 m3 of illegally cut timber from Cameroon left the port of Douala for the Chinese port of Zhangjiagang. The incident involved a portion of the 10,000 m3 of timber illegally cut by Uniprovince, a Herakles Farms company, which recently received a land concession in South-West region of Cameroon for oil palm farming.
While it has never stopped speaking out against this project, not only about Herakles Farms commencing logging activity without receiving a land concession to do so, but also because of the negative effect the project has on the environment and the well-being of the local population, Greenpeace revealed in a May 27, 2014 press release that “the American company Herakles Farms, through a front company, allegedly schemed with the Cameroonian Minister of Forestry to illegally acquire a woodcutting permit as a part of a land concession granted in November 2013. Herakles Farms is preparing to export wood cut in violation of Cameroonian law to China.”
According to Greenpeace, these fears have been realised based on “official documents from the port of Douala”. “It was with little surprise that we learned that this lumber is being shipped to China despite all the proofs of its illegality,” stated Irene Wabiwa, head of Greenpeace’s forest preservation campaign in Africa.
She goes on to add that “three Cameroonian State attorneys general have received information proving the unlawfulness of Uniprovince’s wood cutting activity, but nothing, to our knowledge, has been done about it. The Forestry Ministry and the EU responsible for the implementation of the FLEGT partnership agreement, were also informed several times. But unfortunately, this did not prevent the wood from being exported.”
The Greenpeace local representative also adds that “if this activity continues with complete impunity, it will demolish the credibility of the FLEGT partnership agreement ratified in December 2011, thus accelerating the destruction of the forest and depriving communities of their means of subsistence.”