Women, communities say NO to the expansion of oil palm plantations and industrial palm oil
Each year on 17 April, peasants and food sovereignty advocates commemorate the International day of peasant struggle. Twenty years have passed since the Eldorado dos Carajás massacre on 17 April 1996, when military police killed 19 landless workers in Pará state, Brazil. Since then, peasants and workers around the world have continued struggling for land and resisting land grabs for plantations and other extractive activities in their territories. In Asia, Africa and Latin America, the palm oil industry has been one of the worst offenders.
In January 2016, representatives from 40 communities, national organisations and international groups gathered in Mundemba, Cameroon, for a workshop on the tactics and strategies of oil palm companies. Most participants were from communities affected by oil palm plantations or from organisations working directly with these communities. They shared experiences of how oil palm companies are expanding their operations onto community lands and strategies for defending their lands and livelihoods.
Moved by the testimonies of local community members and visits to the communities affected by oil palm plantations in the areas surrounding Mundemba, the workshop issued a "Statement of solidarity with the communities of Ndian Division, Southwest Region of Cameroon". In a separate meeting, women leaders discussed the daily struggles and resistance strategies of women affected by oil palm plantations and industrial palm oil. The expansion of this industry is having a devastating effect on small-scale traditional palm oil production, which is a key source of livelihood, especially for women. The "Mundemba Declaration" affirms the commitment of the women leaders to continue resisting corporate palm oil.