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In Cameroon's Rain Forest, a Fragile Way of Life

By James Whitlow Delano - 2014-04-03T22:22:38Z

Photograph by James Whitlow Delano for Bloomberg.com

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On the fringes of the planned Herakles Farms oil palm plantation in Cameroon, rain forests crowd an orphaned concrete viaduct, bordered on both sides by walls of mud that make travel treacherous. Here, in Cameroon's Anglophone southwest, the unpaved highways and lack of electrical power contrast with the infrastructure in the more politically powerful Francophone regions.

The plans by Herakles Farms, a U.S. based agriculture company with operations in Cameroon and Ghana, to locate a large palm oil plantation in this remote region have aroused controversy in Cameroon and abroad. The company said the project would preserve the area's biodiversity while providing jobs and benefits like medical clinics.

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