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Deal #806

Location #1

Spatial accuracy level
Coordinates
Location
Riosucio, Chocó, Colombia

Latitude
7.2697
Longitude
-76.8394
Facility name
Collective land title of afrocolombian Communities of the basins of the rivers Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó
Target country
Colombia
Contract area
Comment on location
This polygon covers the basins of both rivers Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó in the Chocó State of Colombia. It was allocated to those communities on November 22nd of 2000, as stated in the resolution 2809 of the Instituto Colombiano de Reforma Agraria. It is possible that the land allocated is larger, but the land use change is basically happening in this polygon. Source: http://www.consejodeestado.gov.co/documentos/boletines/147/S3/11001-03-26-000-2007-00083-00(34911).pdf (Consejo de Estado). Size of the polygon is 28991 hectares, it cannot be confirmed that all of them belong to the company. It represents some private and collective (from afrocolombian) properties. There are ongoing legal process. In this polygons are the properties mentioned in the Report Nr 54 of the Court of Supreme Justice: Collective land title of afrocolombian Communities of the basins of the rivers Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó, El Tesoro, La Nevera, Las Palmitas, No hay como Dios and Santa Teotista

Land area

Size under contract (leased or purchased area, in ha)
[2006] 17719
Size in operation (production, in ha)
[2005] 3160
Comment on land area
(see comments to cell E) Thomas Siron: I couldn't verify this data in the sources. In the FIAN-Transational Institute report (2009, p.87-88), it is said that Urapalma "promoted" the culture of 1500 ha of oil palm in the collective lands of communities located between Curvarado and Jiguaimando rivers. These lands, which cover 22022 ha, are the target of Urapalma and its partners. Latest (27/11/2018): A report from Justicia y Paz said that URAPALMA owned almost 18 thousands hectares in the collective holdings of the communities of the river basins of Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó. It was stated that through an illegal form of accession (bifurcation of a river to gain land), the company extended its property to 12719 hectares in the holding of Curvaradó and 5000 Hectares in Jiguamiandó. Additionally, according to a media report (Semana), they had planted 3160 hectares by 2005, and from them 900 were in operation. Sources: https://www.justiciaypazcolombia.com/incoder-emite-resolucion-que-no-resuelve-la-apropiacion-ilegal-de-tierras-en-el-curvarado-y-jiguamiando/ https://www.semana.com/nacion/articulo/palma-adentro/74291-3

Intention of investment

Intention of the investment
Biofuels, Livestock
Comment on intention of investment
Look at Source # 5

Nature of the deal

Nature of the deal
Outright Purchase
Comment on nature of the deal
For many years there has been an ongoing legal battle around the rights of those lands. There were several massive displacements in the area in the years 1997 and 2001 by paramilitary forces in what was known as the operation "Génesis". The outbreak of violence and continuous threats to the peasants and afrocolombian communities to leave the area brought a wave of land purchases. The legal battle was about the right of the buyers to acquire this land. Colombian legislation prohibits to acquire any holding that has been collectively allocated, as were they. The palm oil companies sued the process and argued that the INCODER (land institution in Colombia by then) was supposed to legalize these acquisitions, which at one point occurred, but was reversed afterwards. Some managers of the involved companies are now in prison. Source: http://www.cortesuprema.gov.co/corte/index.php/2018/05/10/paramilitarismo-alianzas-con-particulares/#more-18424

Negotiation status

Negotiation status
[2018, current] Concluded (Contract signed)
Comment on negotiation status
Although the land was acquired by URAPALMA and other companies, there is an ongoing process around the legality of them. The land was returned to the community and some of the representative of some companies are in prison. Nevertheless, satellite imagery allows to observe large-scale agricultural projects in the area. Source: http://www.cortesuprema.gov.co/corte/index.php/2018/05/10/paramilitarismo-alianzas-con-particulares/#more-18424

Implementation status

Implementation status
[current] In operation (production)

Purchase price

Purchase price
200000
Purchase price currency
Colombian Peso ($)
Purchase price area type
per ha
Comment on purchase price
Source: Sentence N° 54 of the Juzgado Quinto Penal Del Circuito Especializado de Medellín on October 30 of 2014. See Page 174. Some other holdings were bought for COP 100000/ha

Contract farming

Contract farming
No

Number of total jobs created

Jobs created (total)
Yes
Planned number of jobs (total)
1200
Comment on jobs created (total)
Source: https://www.semana.com/nacion/articulo/palma-adentro/74291-3

Operating company

Operating company
Comment on investment chain
According to Christian Aid report, In 2001, Urapalma planted oil palm in lands that had been abandoned by peasant because of paramilitary and military violence in the region of Chocó. After they returned to their land, peasants were obliged to sell it in very injust conditions. Others were killed. According to a Friend of the Earth report, in the Chocó region, there were a paramilitary recolonization of afrocolombian communities' territories, which has been recognized by the State after the 1991 constitutional reform. Urapalma is one of the investors who planted oil palm on afrocolombian people's territories. Like other palm-growing companies, Urapalma benefited from public credits by the Banco Agrario and technical assistance by USAID. INCODER (land state agency) functionaries helped oil palm companies to keep the land they illegally occupied. National army's XVII Brigade helped the same companies repressing local people. It shoud be stated, though, that URAPALMA never received money from USAID, because on the application process they did not send the proper documentation. See Thomson (2011). The company was founded by a paramilitary leader and his relatives were in charge of the company. See Grajales (2011)

 

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Data source #1

Data source type
Research Paper / Policy Report
File
Date
2009-01-01
Comment on data source
"Growing pains: the possibilities and problems of biofuels", by christianaid, August 2009 ;

Data source #2

Data source type
Personal information
Includes in-country-verified information
Yes

Data source #3

Data source type
Research Paper / Policy Report
File
Date
2008-01-01

Data source #4

Data source type
Research Paper / Policy Report
File
Date
2008-01-01

Data source #5

Data source type
Media report
File

Data source #6

Data source type
Media report
File

Data source #7

Data source type
Government sources
File
Publication title
AP799-2018 Radicación n.° 51255
Date
2018-02-28
Includes in-country-verified information
Yes
Comment on data source
Sentence from the Supreme Court of Justice on the process of Antonio Nel Zúñiga Caballero, manager of one of the companies grabbing land in the area.

Data source #8

Data source type
Media report
File
Publication title
INCODER emite resolución que no resuelve la apropiación ilegal de tierras en el Curvaradó y Jiguamiandó
Date
2006-12-28
Includes in-country-verified information
Yes

Data source #9

Data source type
Media report
File
Publication title
Palma adentro
Date
2005-08-14
Includes in-country-verified information
Yes

Data source #10

Data source type
Media report
File
Publication title
A la cárcel 16 empresarios de palma de Chocó
Date
2014-12-08

Data source #11

Data source type
Government sources
Publication title
Sentencia N°54
Date
2014-10-30
Includes in-country-verified information
Yes
Comment on data source
This source is a sentence on a number of representatives of several companies involved in the ilegal land acquisitions experienced in this area. The PDF is too large. The official document can be downloaded from a link in Source # 10

Data source #12

Data source type
Research Paper / Policy Report
Publication title
The Agrarian Question and Violence in Colombia: Conflict and Development
Date
2011-06-20
Comment on data source
Due to copyright the document is not uploaded

Data source #13

Data source type
Research Paper / Policy Report
Publication title
The rifle and the title: paramilitary violence, land grab and land control in Colombia
Date
2011-09-14
Includes in-country-verified information
Yes
Comment on data source
Due to copyright the document is not uploaded

Recognitions status of community land tenure

Recognition status of community land tenure
Community traditional or customary rights recognized by government
Comment on recognitions status of community land tenure
In 2000 the INCORA allocated collective land rights to these communities. See Source by the Supreme Court of Justice.

Consultation of local community

Community consultation
Not consulted
Comment on consultation of local community
See Source 5, Page 4

How did the community react?

Community reaction
Mixed reaction

Presence of land conflicts

Presence of land conflicts
Yes

Displacement of people

Displacement of people
Yes
Number of people actually displaced
3000
Comment on displacement of people
See "Palma Adentro" by Semana

Negative impacts for local communities

Negative impacts for local communities
Environmental degradation
Displacement
Violence
Comment on negative impacts for local communities
Bifurcation of the rivers were done to gain access to more land. See "Palma Adentro" by Semana. Also Source 5 has a content on environmental damages.

Presence of organizations and actions taken (e.g. farmer organizations, NGOs, etc.)

Presence of organizations and actions taken (e.g. farmer organizations, NGOs, etc.)
Christian aid

Former land owner (not by constitution)

Former land owner
Private (smallholders)
Community

Former land use

Former land use
Smallholder agriculture

Former land cover

Former land cover
Cropland
Forest land
Wetland

Detailed crop, animal and mineral information

Crops area
Oil Palm
Crops yield
[2005-08-14] Oil Palm (1000 tons)

Use of produce

Has domestic use
Yes

In country processing of produce

In country processing of produce
Yes
Comment on in country processing of produce
AGF (Agrofuel production)

Water extraction envisaged

Water extraction envisaged
Yes

Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT)

Application of Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT)
No
Comment on VGGT
Land rights were not respected

Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investments (PRAI)

Application of Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investments (PRAI)
No
Comment on PRAI
Land rights were not respected

Overall comment

Overall comment
The issue is about the size. This is a strong dossier. The Chocó region is the place of a violent fight for land opposing cattle raising entrepreneurs and palm-growing companies to peasant communities. The first ones used paramilitary and national army violence to expulse the second ones and to appropriate their lands (generally collectively held and entitled after the 1991 constitutional reform). President Uribe brought strong political support to oil palm expansion in the Choco region, considering this product as strategic. Latest update (27/11/2018) - After massive displacements suffered from in 1997 and 2001, the abandoned land was bought by several entrepeneurs related to paramilitary leaders in the region. The INCODER (land institution of Colombia by then) tried to allocate holdings that were already collectively allocated, something that is forbidden by law. There were some indications of corruption at the regional level. Not only URAPALMA, but several companies were related to this case. Nevertheless, Urapalma is the only company in this deal since it is the mostly mentioned in the literature and media reports. It is extremely difficult to realize the actual size of the deal because of the displacement occurrences and the great amount of different companies involved in this process. It seems that the State has recognized and imprisoned the responsibles of this matter, although a legal process is still ongoing.

June 17, 2019, 5:56 p.m.

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March 30, 2016, 1:20 a.m.

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March 27, 2013, 6:18 p.m.

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Feb. 15, 2013, 5 p.m.

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