The oil palm company “Agripalma” has deforested extensive areas in the south of São Tomé island (central Africa). A civic movement delivered a petition to the Attorney-general of the Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, demanding that forest clearing is suspended until it is proven that these activities are in compliance with Santomean law.
In 2009, the State of São Tomé and Príncipe made a 5000 hectares concession (5% of the country's area) to the company “Agripalma”, to create an oil palm plantation and produce palm oil for internal markets and exportation. The initial concession included areas in the island of Príncipe (c. 1000 hectares) and inside São Tomé Obô Natural Park (c. 200 hectares), which were excluded from the initial concession without having been deforested by Agripalma.
The ongoing deforestation activities linked to this oil palm company do not seem to be in compliance with São Tomé e Príncipe's environmental law, namely with the Law of Forestry (5/2001), the Basic Law for the Environment (10/1999), Law for the Conservation of Fauna, Flora and Protected Areas (11/1999) e and the Regulations for Environmental Impact Assessment (37/1999). There are also indications that Agripalma has obstructed public paths, blocking access to areas that are not under concession.
The chairman of the Santomean lawyers Celiza de Deus Lima, and the former Attorney-general, Dr. Adelino Pereira, delivered a petition to the Attourney-general of São Tomé and Príncipe, demanding that the deforestation activities are suspended until it is proven that they are in compliance with Santomean law.
Agripalma is linked to the Belgian society “Socfinco”, part of the the Bolloré group, which manages thousands of hectares of oil palm plantations in Africa and Asia.