Last update:

Territorial conflicts in Tibú and the oil palm expansion, Colombia

By 2012, the first certified plantations were already in place in Tibú, inspite of the negative social and environmental impacts of the oil palm expansion. The Inter-church Justice and Peace Commission has denounce that impacts.


Different conflicts have arisen in Tibú, a town in the Catatumbo region as a response to land expropriations for the development of huge projects and their contaminations ( water pollution and soil erosion).

See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:Territorial conflicts in Tibú and the oil palm expansion, Colombia
State or province:North Santander
Location of conflict:Catatumbo
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Coal extraction and processing
Mineral ore exploration
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Palm oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Colombia is the 4th largest producer of palm oil in the world. Palm oil plantations occupy around 500,000 ha of the country, and were introduced to substitute coca, but it also replaced rice, maize and cocoa plantations. Yet, Colombian oil is not competitive with Malaysian and Indonesian ones, and 70% of the production is used for national consumption. All the production belonging to Hacienda las Flores is transformed into biofuel.

See more
Project area:20,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:36,500
Start of the conflict:01/01/2001
Company names or state enterprises:Asogpados Dos from Colombia
oleoflores from Colombia
Fedepalma from Colombia
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Agriculture
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:ASAMCAT (Peasant Association of el Catatumbo)
Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz
Grupo de Investigación en Derechos Colectivos y Ambientales (Gidca)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Religious groups
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of alternative proposals
Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Desertification/Drought, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Global warming, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Land demarcation
New strong claim for a ZRC, peasant reserve area, and opposition to extractive industries.
Proposal and development of alternatives:New strong claim in 2013 for a ZRC,large peasant reserve area, and opposition to extractive industries.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Problems have been ongoing for a long time, and no solution has been implemented besides on paper. The locals situation remains the same, and there have been no significant changes.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Law 160 approved in 1994 on peasant reserve areas (ZRC)

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1] UNDP, 2014. Catatumbo: Análisi de conflictividades y construcción de paz

[2] Campesinos de Tibú, víctimas del conflict ambiental
[click to view]

[3] Ortega, JM., 2015. Los conflictos culturales en Colombia: Caso Tibú. Universidad de Granada

[4] Uribe Kaffure, S., 2013. Transformaciones de tenencia y uso de la tierra en zonas del ámbito rural colombiano afectadas por el conflicto armado. El caso de Tibú, Norte de Santander (2000-2010). Estudios Socio-Jurídicos, 16(1), pp.245-287
[click to view]

Thousands of Protesting Colombian Farmers Request Asylum in Venezuela, Maduro Meets with Santos
[click to view]

¿Por qué piden zona de reserva campesina en el Catatumbo?
[click to view]

Catatumbo Colombiano (blog)
[click to view]

Paramilitarismo y palma en el Catamcumbo
[click to view]

En medio del conflicto el Catatumbo existe y resiste
[click to view]

Las encrucijadas de los pequenos palmeros del Catatumbo
[click to view]

Colombian farmers face displacement, disappearances and disputes over land
[click to view]

Peasants and Miners Strikes Expand from Catatumbo to other Regions
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Catatumbo Resiste
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Clàudia Custodio
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:311
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.