The Lake Victoria land-grab

Man standing on felled trees

A man stands on the land taken from him to make way for a palm oil plantation. Kalangala, Uganda. Photo: Jason Taylor

The Ugandan government is promoting large-scale agrofuels plantations as a solution to the climate crisis at the UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa. Yet millions of people are already facing the impacts of land grabs and evictions caused by agrofuels.

The Ugandan government, backed with money from the World Bank and other international financial institutions, is grabbing land from communities to plant oil palm plantations in unique islands in Lake Victoria.

Palm oil from oil palm trees is used in many products including food and can be burnt as a fuel.

So far they have taken 10,000 hectares from local communities and indigenous people in Kalangala, many of whom have farmed and fished on there for years with customary ownership.

These communities have preserved their communal resources, including natural forests and lakes, for fuel, food and culture for many generations. They are now being driven off their land with little warning or compensation.

Many have become casual workers who are paid less than one dollar a day. Families who used to harvest timber sustainably for their own use from local forests are now forced to enter the forests illegally and harvest large amounts of wood to sell to survive.

The islanders who used to have abundant food now face food insecurity and poverty. The say that the micro-climate has changed causing in droughts. The oil palm company is also blocking their access to wells and grazing land.

The plantation has destroyed forests and the local government has ordered the mass killing of monkey populations in the area to protect the palm oil trees.

The Ugandan Government has promised a further 30,000 hectares for oil palm with more funding from international institutions.

Take Action

Tell the Ugandan Government to stop grabbing land. They should respect the rights of local communities and and the environment rather than promoting plantations.