The giant consumer goods manufacturer Bidco Group is being accused of “land grabbing” in the neighboring Uganda.
NGO “Friends of the Earth” which has been to Court claims that Bidco used threats and coercion to evict farmers to invest in huge palm oil plantations.
On 19 February 2015, three Ugandan farmers from Lake Victoria’s Bugula Island, Kalagala District, backed by the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) and Friends of the Earth, brought a lawsuit on behalf of their community against Oil Palm Uganda before the courts of Masaka, Uganda, over alleged land grabs. Oil Palm Uganda is 90% owned by Bidco Uganda — a joint venture of Wilmar International, Josovina Commodities and Bidco Oil Refineries, a Kenya-based company. Wilmar International holds at least 39% of the shares in Oil Palm Uganda and is providing technical expertise.
The plaintiffs allege that their land was taken for the development of an oil palm plantation. They are seeking restitution for their land as well as compensation loss of income. The plaintiffs claim that they are left with no source of income following the taking of their land. The plaintiffs are waiting for a hearing date.
The land grab claims against Oil Palm Uganda are associated with the “Vegetable Oil Development Project” initiated by the Government of Uganda with the oversight and financing of the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Oil Palm Uganda was invited to participate in the project as a private-sector partner.
A section of Kalangala District residents have accused the district officials of grabbing their land and allocate it to Oil Palm Uganda Limited to establish oil palm plantations…Kalangala District Natural Resources Officer…denied the allegations of illegally sending people off their land to pave way for the oil palm plantations. He said many people were not legal occupants on the public land. “We tried to negotiate with them, relocate them to other places to settle but they refused”…With the help of the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (Nape) and Friends of the Earth Uganda, Kalangala community launched a legal challenge against all the parties involved in the said land grabbing…According to Nape Programme Officer, David Kureeba…“Oil palm was not the best product for the island, especially when there is a water resource whose eco-system is at the shores of the lake. Apart from destroying the eco-system, many people cannot benefit from the remaining natural resources since the land was taken away from them and now have nothing to do
Who will stop BIDCO from walking away with all these crimes ?
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