Republic of Congo takes unprecedented decision on large-scale agriculture in forest areas

Posted on 15 February 2019
Henceforth large scale agricultural production plantations banned in forest areas
© Fidelis Manga/WWF
WWF has welcomed the decision by the government of the Republic of Congo to regulate the opening up of new plantations in the forested areas of the country. According to a Ministerial order signed by Congo’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry and the Minister of Land Tenure in charge of Relations with the National Assembly, all large scale agricultural activities beyond five hectares should be oriented to the savannah areas of the country.

The Ministerial order signed in October 2018 states that the decision is in line with the Republic of Congo’s international commitments to fight against climate change. It abrogates all previous contrary decisions with immediate effect. “This is an unprecedented decision that should serve as yardsticks for other governments in the Congo basin”, declares Marc Languy, Deputy Regional Director of WWF-Africa, in charge of Central African countries.
WWF has been encouraging governments of Central African countries to adopt sustainable agriculture and sustainable forest management approaches in a bid to stop conversion of high conservation value (HVC) and high carbon stock (HCS) forest areas and to fight against climate change by reducing emissions. “One of the biggest drivers of deforestation is the clearing down of huge forest expanse for commercial agriculture,” says Languy.  “If not attenuated, this practice could have serious consequences on the HCV/HCS forest and wildlife in the Congo basin region. “This is why WWF is appealing to other governments of the Congo Basin to emulate the example of the Republic of Congo”, Languy states.

WWF has been working with governments, private sector, NGO partners and local and indigenous people to promote sustainable agriculture. One of the strategies is sustainable development of the palm oil sector through the application of the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) standards, rehabilitation of old inactive/abandoned plantations, replanting of aged plantations instead of expansion and development of new plantations in savannah areas.
Henceforth large scale agricultural production plantations banned in forest areas
© Fidelis Manga/WWF Enlarge