Posted on 30 April 2012
With Cameroon committed to grow its domestic production of palm oil, there are concerns that the price of this expansion will be paid in the country’s forests. This working paper seeks to stimulate a debate to ensure that the palm oil industry can develop sustainably in Cameroon.
The paper, available in English and French, targeted at government, private sector and civil society, seeks to stimulate a debate regarding the palm oil industry’s growing demand for large tracts of land in Cameroon, notably in forest areas.
The government of Cameroon has committed to become an emerging economy by 2035, and the agricultural sector has a major role to play in achieving this goal. Cameroon is committed to expand its production of oil, and to address its current net balance of trade (as of 2012, Cameroon imports 50,000 tons of palm oil per year).
There are concerns that leasing large tracts of forest to the international agricultural industry is not the way to address the demand for palm oil. WWF, together with IRD and CIFOR, have prepared this briefing paper to stimulate a debate around the issue and to support the government with constructive ideas on how palm oil expansion can be achieved sustainably in order to support the country's economic growth strategy.
The paper calls for an emphasis on a sustainable oil palm industry, specifically on:
- finding suitable degraded lands to expand oil palm plantations
- focusing on improving yields
- promoting a small-holder approach
- improving transparency
- adopting the principles of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)