The RSPO Manager of Sustainable Oils Cameroon Ltd, Elvis A. Oben, talks on the eventual activities of his company.
What measures have you taken to develop environment-friendly oil palm plantation?
The area where we are located from Kupe-Muanenguba to Mundemba was designated as an agricultural zone by the Korupt project in 1989, a project headed by WWF. We are very focused and looking towards sustainability. We are respecting WWF management plans. We have given 100 metres from the Bayambo Wildlife Sanctuary; three kilometres to the Bakossi National Park, in order to provide enough corridor between the protected area and the plantation. We are aware of the imminent human-elephant conflict and we are using the WWF better management approach and seeking partnership to show how we also have an interest on conservation. We are not only focusing on establishing oil palm plantation. We are respecting the animals and the plants to conserve them for future generations.
Have you fulfilled the conditions necessary to acquire the land on which to develop the plantation?
The company has carried out due process in land acquisition as stated by the law and we are almost at the final stage for the government to grant us a lease in the area. We have already conducted the impact assessment in which we have seen both positive and negative impacts and how we are going to improve on the positive ones and mitigate the negative ones. We have submitted our report to the government which has been reviewed and approved, hence our being handed an environmental certificate of conformity.
Have you been issued the land certificate?
We have not yet been issued the land certificate but we signed a convention in 2009 with government which granted us the opportunity to search for suitable areas and follow the due process of land acquisition. We have done this process and submitted our papers and are waiting for a presidential decree.
Why didn't you wait for it to be signed before you go the field?
There is no limitation. Cameroon law states that you could expand a particular area. A Prime Ministerial decree of April 22, 2005 states that an operation in a piece of land less than 100 hectares can be done without an impact assessment. We have just expanded 28 hectares for our nursery development. We have not started planting. We are conforming to the Cameroon law. We are waiting for government to give the green light.