SIFCA Rubber and Oil Palm Plantations, Liberia

Description
In August 2011, the Government of Liberia and SIFCA signed an agreement involving the rehabilitation of an 8,800-ha oil-palm plantation, formerly owned by Decoris Oil Palm and currently occupied by local farmers, as well as a 6,000-ha outgrower scheme. SIFCA was given a 25-year lease on the lands after the 25-year lease from Decoris expired. Simultaneously, SIFCA signed an agreement with the government to expand its rubber plantations from 8,000 ha to 35,000 ha in Maryland and River Gee counties (formerly operated by Firestone). The management of the plantations is plagued with allegations of employment fraud, including hiring illegal aliens and 'gross and consistent abuse of Liberian workers', and violating the Liberian Labor Laws. Over fifteen hundred protesters peacefully marched and demonstrated for a week in February of 2013 against employment practices of the company, including pay disparity, lack of social services, rendering workers homeless, and dismissal of pregnant employees. The demonstrations followed futile engagements between the company and their employees, and cumulated in four arrests. Previous protests (2011) left many arrested and one dead, with no satisfactory outcome. SIFCA is partly owned by Wilmar and Olam of Singapore.

Basic Data
NameSIFCA Rubber and Oil Palm Plantations, Liberia
CountryLiberia
ProvinceMaryland and River Gee Counties
SitePleebo-Sodoken District
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Agro-fuels and biomass energy plants
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific CommoditiesPalm oil
Rubber
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsSIFCA operates under Maryland Oil Palm (MOPP) and Cavalla Rubber Corporation inc (CRC). 15,200 ha of oil palm plantations, in close proximity to 25,000ha of rubber trees plantations. CRC intends to plant at a rate of 500 to 1,000 per year to supply their on-site oil palm processing plant, and in 2007 stated that in 5-7 years 6,500 direct employees were to be hired in Maryland county.

Project Area (in hectares)43,800
Level of Investment (in USD)84,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesSIFCA
Maryland Oil Palm from Liberia
Cavalla Rubber Corporation from Liberia
Wilmar & OLAM from Singapore
Wilmar International from Singapore
Congolaise Industrielle des Bois, subsidiary of OLAM (CIB or OLAM) from Singapore
Relevant government actorsRepresentative Bhofal Chambers, Liberian National Government, Ministry of Labor
International and Financial InstitutionsAfrican Development Bank (AfDB)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local government/political parties
Employees
Forms of MobilizationStreet protest/marches
Strikes
Local government resistance
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Soil erosion
Health ImpactsVisible: Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Potential: Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights
Outcome
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Deaths
Migration/displacement
Development of AlternativesRepresentative Chambers: the deal should be re-evaluated and the concession bid be re-opened to other potential bidders
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.With only one local Representative fighting for the people affected, the company continues operations unhindered.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Liberian Labor Law

Links

[click to view]

, 'En pleine croissance, Sifca dope sa présence au Liberia'
[click to view]

[click to view]

, 'SIPH : Accord majeur au Libéria pour une extension des terres à 35 000 ha' http:///post/view/19932
[click to view]

Front Page Africa, 'Chambers Cry Foul of SIFCA'
[click to view]

SIFCA, '2011 Annual Report'
[click to view]

All Africa, 'Liberia: Who Armed SIFCA's Security?'
[click to view]

Liberian Guardian Newspaper, 'Liberia: Labour Minister Championing the Cause of Poor Workers'
[click to view]

Maryland County, 'Maryland County Lawmakers at War'
[click to view]

All Africa, 'Liberia: Police Denies Flogging Protesters in Maryland'

Meta Information
ContributorAliza Tuttle
Last update24/06/2014
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