Palm oil, poverty and ‘imperialism’: A reality check from Liberia

Global Witness | 10 September 2014

by Silas Siakor
The Times recently carried an article called ‘Let poor countries cut down forests’ (04/09/14), documenting journalist Ben Webster’s interview with Sir Jonathon Porritt, former Director of Friends of the Earth and environmental adviser to the Prince of Wales. Reading it, I felt that Sir Porritt seemed to have abandoned his usual analytical rigour and fallen for the spin of the palm oil industry.

Porritt’s notion is that poor countries like mine (Liberia) are being held hostage to what he calls ‘eco-imperialists’ –  rich country environmentalists who put pressure on developing countries not to cut down their rainforests, thus keeping us poor. His Forum for the Future charity instead suggests that promoting palm oil, a primary driver of deforestation, is a possible solution to poverty. – See more at:

Silas Sikor, Director of the Sustainable Development Institute

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