African palms take deep root in Colombia


Right-wing paramilitaries swept into villages in the interior of Colombia’s Pacific state of Chocó four years ago, felling thousands of acres of primary forest and giving local farming and fishing families a choice: plant African-palm groves or give up your land. In some other parts of Colombia, however, African-palm cultivation has presented a dramatically different face. On the Pacific coast, palm companies in Nariño state’s Tumaco county are undertaking projects to boost community development and restore corridors of primary forest. Colombia increasingly is looking to the African palm (Elaeis guineensis) and palm-oil exports as a means of alleviating rural poverty, providing an alternative to illegal coca farming and boosting foreign-exchange earnings. It’s not hard to see why. The industry has... [Log in to read more]

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