Villager in Ayang Atemako cuts down a bundle of oil palm fruit on the village's own small artisanal farm.  Villages cannot compete with large plantations because the plantations can afford the massive amounts of fertilizer needed to yield larger, higher quality fruits.  The farmers of Ayang Atemako use no fertilizer at all.  Most of the palm oil produced here is for local consumption.   2013  Oil palm trees are native to West Africa.  From the 1870's, the British, Germans and French jockeyed for control to break the so-called "African Mafia" of middle men who held a monopoly over palm oil, a much sought commodity to make lubricants for machinery and soap.  Now palm oil is used for bio-fuel, cosmetics, and foods by major buyers including, Nestle, McDonald's, Unilever and Walmart.  2013
 Villagers from Sikam, which abuts both the proposed Herakles Farms logging/oil palm concession and Korup National Park, listen intently about ways to prevent the Herakles Farms project from coming to fruition.  Cameroon.  2013  The concession runs along the southern part of their ancestral land and there is great concern about what the future holds if access to the forest is denied, the forest is cut down and converted to a monoculture oil palm plantation.  Loggers, on the north fringe of their land have already cut down large trees and left the felled trees to rot.
 Grabbing a peek at what is supposed to be out of sight: Herakles Farms' massive, illegal oil palm plantation because, at the time of writing Greenpeace said that Herakles Farms, through its subsidiary SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon (SGSOC), had failed to obtain a presidential decree making all land clearance operations illegal.   (Cameroonian President Paul Biya did sign a required presidential decree but giving permission for a much smaller palm oil plantation) Talangaye, Cameroon.  2013  Only by hiking covertly through an adjacent forest, led by a Herakles Farms employee, was it possible to photograph this oil palm nursery.
 The timber industry already has a presence in the unprotected forests near Herakles Farms proposed logging/oil palm project.  This large rainforest tree apparently legally cut but, in order to get to the largest, most valuable trees, heavy equipment simply tore large paths through the otherwise pristine rainforest.  Near Nguti, Cameroon.  2013
 Heavy equipment has ripped this wide path into a pristine rainforest damaging an area many times larger than the area occupied by the largest, most valuable trees to be extracted.  This forest was completely undisturbed just days before this photograph was made.  East of Nguti, Cameroon.  2013
 Cameroonian activist, Christopher Achobang, who is working to prevent the proposed Herakles Farms logging/oil palm concession, through its subsidiary SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon (SGSOC).  In the forest of Talangaye, Cameroon.  2013
 Cacao, the main ingredient for chocolate, is the main cash crop grown by small farmers in the Herakles Farms project area.  Near Ayong, Cameroon.  2013  Many towering rainforest trees are left standing over the farms to shade the cacao trees, as they thrive in filtered sunlight, decreasing the impact on the local forest.  Farmers also grow cassava, bananas, squash and maize (corn) for subsistence.  Oil palm is grown locally and processed on a artisanal basis to supply the local market.
 Just the beginning road from Kumba to Nguti which would culminate in a midnight roll over in a mud puddle in a downpour on a remote stretch of this road.  Cameroon.  2013  The Anglophone southwest of Cameroon has particularly poor infrastructure compared with the politically dominant Francophone part of the country.  Villages that stretch out along this road have no electric power grid, or paved roads.  The Herakles Farm oil palm/logging project promised to improve infrastructure but as yet, there is no discernible change. 
 A mother and son sow seeds on a small plot already planted with corn (maize), taro and squash on the same side of a road where the proposed Herakles Farms logging/oil palm concession would occupy.  Near Ayong, Cameroon.  2013  The concession would sit south of the road but villagers were so uniformly uninformed that even village chiefs were not sure exactly where the Herakles Farm concession boundary sat.  There was great concern about the future for local farmers and hunters (hunting provided a necessary protein source requirement) if they were barred from access to the concession forest; or when the forest would be cut down and converted to a monoculture oil palm plantation.
 Activist, Christopher Achobang working after a long day surveying the latest progress of the Herakles Farms oil palm/logging project at a local guesthouse.  Nguti, Cameroon.  Rural Southwest Cameroon offers up great logistical challenges.  2013
 Palm oil from local artisanal farms in an outdoor market in Southwestern Cameroon.  2013  Oil palm is indigenous to West Africa but local farmers cannot compete with large plantations which can afford expensive fertilizer which increases the yield and quality of the palm oil.
 Large government-owned, Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC), oil palm plantation on the outskirts of Limbe.  Cameroon.  2013  Large-scale oil palm plantations are nothing new to Cameroon especially near the coast.  In fact, plantations here date back to the German colonial era (1884 - 1914), though the British founded the CDC in 1947.   Most important, they have not alleviated poverty, as the 2009 unemployment at 30% (World Bank) and its overall poverty rate at close to 40%.  Unemployment is most acute among young Cameroonians.
 Despite being surrounded by oil palm and rubber plantations for decades, these residents of the coastal town of Tiko still live in abject poverty, which puts into question claims by Herakles Farms that the company will bring prosperity to far more rural communities than this one which benefits from being situated along the busy highway between the major cities of Douala and Limbe.  Cameroon.  2013
 GWZ Wijma sawmill, Nguti, Southwestern Cameroon.  2013  The timber industry already has a presence in the unprotected forests  and this sawmill converts timber into lumber.  The proposed Herakles Farms logging/oil palm project concession, through its subsidiary SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon (SGSOC), Nta Ali Forest Reserve and Banyang-Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary are all near to this sawmill which processes logs extracted from the old growth forested hills nearby. 
 Women farmers return to the village of Sikam over a logging road bridge built to selectively log north of the village.  Now Herakles Farms wants to clear-cut the forest to the south and convert the land to a massive oil palm plantation.  Cameroon.  2013
 Mobile telephone recharging service in one of the myriad rural villages in anglophone Southwest Cameroon lacking an electric power grid.  Kumbe Bakundo, Cameroon.  2013
 Local hunter, who wished not to show his face, holds a long-tailed pangolin shot in the neighboring rainforest.  This form of bush meat is a traditional form of protein.  While there was no evidence of hunting of primates like chimpanzees or lowland gorillas (both of which are know to inhabit protected areas), the more forest that is logged, the more vulnerable wild game will be to overhunting.  Manyeman, Cameroon.  2013
 Seedling from a rainforest tree pushes up from a logging road in the old growth forest to the east of Nguti, close to the proposed concession for Herakles Farms oil palm / logging project.  Cameroon.  2013
 Activist, Christopher Achobang rides on the back of a motorbike on the way to visit villages that abut both the proposed Herakles Farm logging/oil palm concession and Korup National Park.  Cameroon.  2013  Achobang, who does not live in this area, has returned time and again to resist the destruction of this forest and destruction of their way of life to profit distant shareholders.
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