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Monday, October 28, 2013

Eradicate poverty: End Western theft of indigenous land, livelihood

Africa hope of self-sufficiency charred in foreign grab: Palm Oil
Editing by Carolyn Bennett

A recent analysis of land grabs found that “Reported land deals in Africa concern an area equivalent to 4.8 percent of Africa’s total agricultural area.” 

This represents a serious threat to the livelihoods of small farmers and to food sovereignty in the often very poor countries where control of large areas of fertile land is being handed to foreign interests. Reports suggest the majority of land acquired by foreign investors will not be used to meet local needs or improve food security but to grow crops for export—both food and biofuel feedstock, says a Greenpeace report.

Land grabs also threaten Africa’s forests, which contain rare habitats and huge quantities of stored carbon. Unabated land grabbing for commercial agriculture represents a massive new threat to biodiversity and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. 

In the Congo Basin, logging companies already control some 44 million hectares of forest, while another several hundred thousand hectares are threatened by new palm oil ventures.

Derivatives of Palm Oil

Derivatives of palmitic acid were used in combination with naphtha during World War II to produce aluminum naphthenate and aluminum palmitate: napalm

Processed foods (many) contain palm oil as an ingredient. The highly saturated nature of palm oil renders it solid at room temperature in temperate regions, making it a cheap substitute for butter in uses where solid fat is desirable, such as the making of pastry dough and baked goods: in this respect, it is less of a health-hazard than the alternative substitute of partially hydrogenated trans fat.

Splitting of oils and fats by hydrolysis, or under basic conditions saponification (saponification is a process that produces soap, usually from fats and lye), yields fatty acids with glycerin (glycerol) as a byproduct. 

Biodiesel: Palm oil can be used to produce biodiesel (aka palm oil methyl ester), created through a process called transesterification. Palm oil biodiesel is often blended with other fuels to create palm oil biodiesel blends. Palm oil biodiesel meets the European EN 14214 standard for biodiesels. The world’s largest palm oil biodiesel plant is the Finnish operated Neste Oil biodiesel plant in Singapore, which opened in 2011.
Energy: The organic waste matter that is produced when processing oil palm including oil palm shells and oil palm fruit bunches can also be used to produce energy. This waste material can be converted into pellets that can be used as a biofuel.

Additionally, palm oil that has been used to fry foods can be converted into methyl esters for biodiesel. The used cooking oil is chemically treated to create a biodiesel similar to petroleum diesel.

The use of palm oil in the production of biodiesel has led to concerns that the need for fuel is being placed ahead of the need for food, leading to malnourishment in developing nations.

Exploitation, human rights abuse for Palm Oil

Cameroon (West Africa): Herakles Farms in the United States has a production project underway in Cameroon, a project that has been halted under pressure from Greenpeace, WWF (World Wildlife Fund for Nature), and other civil society organizations in Cameroon. Local villagers also oppose the project.

While palm oil production reportedly provides “employment opportunities and has been shown to improve infrastructure, social services and reduce poverty,” says a Wikipedia article, oil palm plantations have also developed lands without consulting or compensating indigenous people who live on the land thus causing social conflict. The use of illegal immigrants in Indonesia has also raised concerns about working conditions within the palm oil industry.

Herakles Farms: Greenpeace reports that the Herakles Farms Project in the Cameroon area “includes 62,433 hectares (154,209 acres) of dense natural forest as well as farmland and agro-forestry small holdings” and local residents (as most farmers in Africa lack formal title to their land) fear this foreign incursion “will deprive them of their land and access to forest products.
A Greenpeace team documented that the setting up of one of the project’s nurseries at Fabe (Village of Fabe in Cameroon) deprived people of access to a valuable collecting area for forest products, and that cocoa farms have been taken without farmers’ consent.

“Locals were not properly consulted before the establishment convention was signed. The convention gives Herakles Farms the exclusive right to farm in the area and includes no provisions for compensation of residents.”

Herakles “claims ‘a huge outpouring of support from communities’ and says its project will not displace people,” Greenpeace reports; but, at the same time, “communities have consistently objected to the plans by complaining to the government, signing petitions, and organizing peaceful demonstrations.”

 Environmental harm: Palm Oil plantations

Palm oil cultivation has been criticized for negatively affecting the natural environment: e.g., deforestation, loss of natural habitats which threaten critically endangered species such as the orangutan and Sumatran tiger, and increased greenhouse gas emissions ─ Palm oil plantations (many of them) are built on top of existing peat bogs, and clearing the land for palm oil cultivation may contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. For these reasons, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and others oppose the use of palm oil biofuels.

n its 2001 “Assessment of Rural Poverty Western and Central Africa” the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) wrote, “Poverty in Western and Central Africa is essentially a rural phenomenon. The incidence of poverty is approximately 75 percent in rural areas, out of a total impoverished population of about 120 million people” and as urbanization grows so urban poverty will become dominant by the 2020s. 
The IFAD report concluded that the “battle against poverty cannot succeed without concerted effort(s) working to eliminate poverty at local, regional and global levels” and programs aimed at reducing rural poverty must “include the effective participation of rural African women, men and youth at all stages of design, implementation, evaluation.”

The report “Assessment of Rural Poverty Western and Central Africa” is therefore “an appeal to good will and solidarity with those who are trying to raise themselves from poverty.”

Sources and notes

“Herakles Farms in Cameroon: A showcase in bad palm oil production” (Greenpeace), Version 1.1 updated March 5, 2013, previous version published February 2013 by Greenpeace USA, 702 H Street NW Suite 300, Washington, DC 20001, Tel/ 202.462.1177, book design by Andrew Fournier, http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/media-center/reports/Herakles-Farms-in-Cameroon/

“Herakles Farms in Cameroon: A showcase in bad palm oil production,” publication February 19, 2013: “The palm oil project being developed by the U.S.-owned company Herakles Farms in Cameroon demonstrates the threat posed by badly managed expansion of oil palm plantations.

The project covers 73,086 hectares (180,599 acres) of forest and existing farmland and is home to an estimated 14,000 people, mostly small farmers.

Residents are fiercely opposing the plantation, fearing it will deprive them of their farmland and access to forest products.

International and Cameroonian NGOs and scientists are also critical of the project on the grounds of illegality, social and economic injustice and environmental destruction.


“Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organization that acts to expose global environmental problems and achieve solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.”


Palm oil (also known as dendê oil, from Portuguese) is an edible vegetable oil derived from the mesocarp (reddish pulp) of the fruit of the oil palms, primarily the African oil palm Elaeis guineensis, and to a lesser extent from the American oil palm Elaeis oleifera and the maripa palm Attalea maripa. Palm oil is a common cooking ingredient in the tropical belt of Africa, Southeast Asia and parts of Brazil. Its use in the commercial food industry in other parts of the world is buoyed by its lower cost and by the high oxidative stability (saturation) of the refined product when used for frying. Refined bleached deodorized palm oil (RBDPO) is the basic oil product sold on the world’s commodity markets although many companies fractionate it further to produce palm olein for cooking oil or process it into other products.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and others have engaged in efforts to promote sustainable cultivation of palm oil. Wikipedia notes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_oil

“Assessment of Rural Poverty Western and Central Africa”, IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development, © 2001 International Fund for Agricultural Development. All rights reserved. “This Report is a product of the staff of IFAD and the judgments made herein do not necessarily reflect the views of its Member Countries or the representatives of those Member Countries appointed to its Executive Board. IFAD does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this publication and accepts no responsibility whatsoever for any consequence of their use. Designations employed, presentation of material in maps do not imply expression of any opinion on the part of IFAD concerning the legal status of any country or territory or the delineation of its frontiers.” http://www.ifad.org/poverty/region/pa/english.pdf

Some Facts On Palm Oil  

IMPORTANT: Just because a product says it is ‘Organic’ or ‘Cruelty-Free’ does not mean it doesn’t contain palm oil. In fact, most natural/organic products do contain palm oil - because palm oil is very much a natural ingredient. It’s the way it is produced that is far from natural, which is something many companies fail to realize. - See more at: http://arzone.ning.com/forum/topics/some-facts-on-palm-oil#sthash.Msiz4UXS.dpuf

Foods, Body Products, Cosmetics & Cleaning Agents:
 -Vegetable Oil
-Vegetable Fat
-Sodium Laureth Sulfate (in almost everything that foams) ^
-Sodium Lauryl Sulfate ^
-Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS) ^
-Palm Kernel#
-Palm Oil Kernel #
-Palm Fruit Oil #
-Palmate #
-Palmitate #
-Palmolein #
-Glyceryl Stearate #
-Stearic Acid #
-Elaeis Guineensis #
-Palmitic Acid #
-Palm Stearine #
-Palmitoyl oxostearamide #
-Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3 #
-Steareth -2 *
-Steareth -20 *
-Sodium Kernelate #
-Sodium Palm Kernelate #
-Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate *
-Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate ^
-Hyrated Palm Glycerides #
-Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylaye ^
-Cetyl Palmitate #
-Octyl Palmitate #
-Cetyl Alcohol ^
-Palmityl Alchohol #  

# These ingredients are definitely palm oil or derived from palm oil.
* These ingredients are often derived from palm oil, but could be derived from other vegetable oils.
^ These ingredients are either derived from palm oil or coconut oil. 
- See more at: http://arzone.ning.com/forum/topics/some-facts-on-palm-oil#sthash.Msiz4UXS.dpuf



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1 comment:

  1. The fate of the of Herakles Farms in Talangaye/Nguti and their red card report in Cameroon, “Treasury and local council officials have confirmed to SEFE that Herakles is yet to pay land rents demanded in the Presidential decrees of November 2013, yet are still operating in the area, in clear violation of the presidential order” the report reads. More from - http://betockvoices.page.tl/Herakles-red-card-in-Cameroon.htm