Liberia is one of the least developed countries in the world, with high levels of under-educated and unemployed youth and few opportunities for economic development. The southeast of the country where Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) obtained concessionary rights to develop 220,000 hectares for palm oil in 2010, is particularly undeveloped. As Liberia is home to more than 40% of the valuable Upper Guinean rain forest, and the southeast is especially densely forested, responsible palm oil development to not compromise these forests, is key. The landscape in south east Liberia is centered around the palm oil concession held by GVL. The area stretches over four counties: River Cess, Sinoe, Grand Kru, Maryland and River Gee.

Community palm oil, forest protection, green growth plans

The primary activities that IDH and partners implement are:

  1. Catalyzing investment in community oil palm with the concession holder;
  2. Working with out-grower communities, GVL and FDA to set aside forest for conservation;
  3. Build community capacity in governance, land use planning, food security and income diversification and forest protection and monitoring.

IDH also aims to bring stakeholders together to develop a vision on the future of the landscape that can be laid out in a green growth plan, as well as support traceability and verified sourcing.

Production, Protection, Inclusion

GVL partnered with IDH and the Liberian Forestry Development Authority to raise capital for investing in community oil palm farms, and leveraging on the investment to incentivize forest conservation. The partnership will introduce Production–Protection Agreements (PPAs), as a form of public–private–community forest protection governance. Through these PPAs, the communities, the Forestry Development Authority and GVL agree to conserve and actively monitor and manage forests, in exchange for access to investment capital raised and technical assistance to establish community oil palm farms. The investment model includes an annual conditional income paid to the community, which is conditional to compliance with the Forest Protection plan.

The partnership’s first round investment will be for 4,000 hectares of community oil palm farm land spread over 6-8 communities in the south east of Liberia, leveraging at least 20,000 hectares of HCV/HCS forest conservation. Key investors include the Investment Fund for Production Protection that was launched at the World Economic Forum in January 2017, and GVL as the concession holding company.

The initiative builds on the key lesson that for effective forest conservation, it is essential that all concerned parties work within an agreed and consistent framework. The strength that GVL brings is its community engagement and forest monitoring, and coordination with communities and with the Liberian Forestry Development Authority, as organization mandated to monitor forest conservation. IDH role is working with Government of Liberia and the concession holder (GVL) to raise the investment capital, and support the community and government with technical assistance and capacity building in the field of community governance, land use planning, food security and income diversification and forest protection and monitoring.

Daan Wensing

Program Director, ISLA

phone+31 (0) 302305677

e-mailemail me

Nienke Stam

Senior Program Manager

phone+31 (0) 652862393

e-mailemail me

Lizzy van der Wal

Country Coordinator, Liberia

phone+31 (0) 302307852

e-mailemail me

Manizha Korodiva

Communication Officer, ISLA

phone+31 (0) 302307179

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Silas Siakor

Senior Landscape Convener, South Eastern Liberia 

Hilary David

Food Security and Income Diversification Specialist

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Sector: Palm Oil

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Partners in the South East Liberia sector