Well-known investment funds in the U.S., Europe and South Africa are financing a set of oil palm plantations that have been at the center of more than a century of discord in the northeastern quadrant of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to a new report from the Oakland Institute, a California-based policy think tank. People from communities around the Boteka, Lokutu and Yaligimba plantations managed by Plantations et Huileries du Congo (PHC) say that their ancestors’ land was stolen from them for a massive palm oil-producing plantation when Belgian colonial officials were in control. The oil palm concessions cover more than 107,000 hectares (264,000 acres) in three separate locations in DRC. Today, residents say their rights to the land and their livelihoods continue to be sidelined in favor of profits sought by the company and outside investors. The Oakland Institute and other organizations say workers on the plantations are paid little for arduous and dangerous work, including exposure to pesticides used to keep the rows of palms producing their oil-bearing fruit. They have also raised concerns about the nutrient-rich runoff from the plantations that enters local tributaries of the Congo River. A map shows the locations of the three oil palm plantations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Image courtesy of the Oakland Institute. Despite the publicity around these issues, several major foundations, endowments and pension funds based in the United States, the United Kingdom and South Africa have continued to invest in funds that support PHC’s operations.…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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