When Wall Street Invests in Plantations
From Cameroon, Christiane Badgley reports for Foreign Policy on the bulldozing of forest land for plantations of trees which produce an oil used as biofuel, and for household purposes such as cooking. “The world is upside down,” the founder of a Cameroon NGO told Badgley, because the country has to import $600 million worth of food each year, while striking deals favorable to international agricultural ventures. The investors are allowed to buy land cheaply, receive tax breaks, and despite publicly proclaimed goals of lifting local people out of poverty, the projects raise many unsettling questions. Will the development be environmentally sustainable, and will it turn self-sufficient farmers into low-wage plantation workers?
[Reporting sponsored by The Green Park Foundation.]
Photo credit: Christiane Badgley