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Al Jazeera | From Africa's Palms
Nidhi Dutt investigates the mirky business of palm oil in Cameroon.
Director: Hugh Hartford
Producer: Hugh Hartford
February 2015

There are few products so ubiquitous as palm oil. You can find its derivatives in chocolate, shampoo, toothpaste, detergent, ice cream, floor polish and a host of other products filling supermarket shelves.


Cameroon has been trying to get a palm oil industry off - or rather into - the ground, and Palm oil would seem to offer good prospects for additional growth. The tree is native to the region and the climate is perfect for its cultivation.


In 2010, that the Cameroonian government struck the outlines of a deal with a US-based enterprise called Herakles Farms, granting it exclusive use of a biodiversity hotspot in south-western Cameroon - an area covering 73,000 hectares of pristine forest and farmland - in which to start plantations. The company would benefit from some eye-wateringly generous tax breaks, but in return it promised to bring much needed development to the region - from jobs and schools, to hospitals and better roads.


But as revealed by this episode of People & Power, things did not quite turn out that way.

About People & Power

People & Power is an award-winning investigative documentary programme which examines the use and abuse of power around the world.


Each hard-hitting film is distinguished by its focus on stories that revolve around a struggle or conflict over power.


People & Power works with investigative journalists, independent producers and reporters around the world to bring underreported stories to light - speaking truth to power.

Credit List
Producer / Director
Nidhi Dutt