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Finnish Broadcasting Company Reports on the Impacts of Green Resources’ Industrial Tree Plantations in Uganda

February 15, 2017
REDD Monitor

Chris Lang

Green Resources is a Norwegian company with 41,000 hectares of industrial tree plantations in Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda. While Green Resources claims to be carrying out “sustainable development”, the reality is anything but sustainable for local communities.

The Finnish Broadcasting Company, Yle, visited Green Resources plantations in the Kachung region of Uganda at the end of 2016.

Josephine Ateng lost her farmland to Green Resources’ plantations. Today, she has to buy all her food. She has virtually no income. She told Yle that,

“We used to grow rice where the forest is. Now we’ve been driven away. We have nowhere to grow our crops.”

Another villager, Moses Olungu said,

“When they started to plant trees in the area, we had houses there. Those homes were destroyed.”

In 2012, the Finnish state-owned development finance company Finnfund gave Green Resources an investment loan of €10 million. On its website, Finnfund claims that the company has “good relations with local communities”.

Finnfund quotes Mads Asprem, CEO of Green Resources, as saying that, “Maintaining good relations with local communities is vital.”

The problems Green Resources plantations have caused for local communities have been reported several times in the past. Each time a new report is published, Asprem just shrugs his shoulders. His response is always the same. He criticises the reports and denies that there are any serious problems.

This time, Finnfund has saved him the trouble of replying. Finnfund is not interested in investigating the problems that the company has created. Instead, Finnfund’s response states that,

The main objective of the project is to benefit the local people, in addition, it seeks to curb both climate change and accelerating deforestation in Uganda.

Carbon violence

In 2014, the Oakland Institute used the term “carbon violence” to describe Green Resources’ operations.

Villagers told the Oakland Institute that they were evicted from the land before Green Resources started their plantations. Government employees, army, military and police carried out the evictions.

More recent evictions have taken place as Green Resources has expanded its operations. Villagers told the Oakland Institute that company employees destroyed their homes to make way for plantations.

One villager said that company staff arrived without notice and,

“just started to plant trees on top of our crops … we were evicted without discussion.”