Chiapas: Indigenous and Campesina Women Protest Violation of Rights over African Palm Cultivation

@Agua y Vida

In Chiapas, there are more than 60 thousand hectares of oil palm monocultures, which represents more than 70% of all the palm planted in the national territory, an area that is expected to continue increasing, affecting lives, lands and territories.

The organization Agua y Vida: Mujeres, Derechos y Ambiente (Water and Life: Women, Rights and Environment) held the webinar “Women against the Oil Palm in Chiapas: Resist, Persist and Transform”, where they exposed the situation that women live facing oil palm monoculture in the state.

At the seminar, the document “The Oil Palm from the Word of Women: Diagnosis of the Oil Palm (Elais guineensis Jacq.) and its effects in the Territories of Chiapas” was presented, in which the Ixim Antzetik Women’s House collaborated, the Network of Women of the Coast in Rebellion, the Digna Ochoa Human Rights Center, the Tonalteco Civic Front and the Regional Autonomous Council of the Chiapas Coast Zone.

The study points out the relationship of this monoculture with El Tren Maya, an extractive support megaproject in the area. They affirm, “this infrastructure work will serve mainly as a route for the extraction of basic raw materials, including oil palm.” Guadalupe Núñez, a member of Women of the Coast in Rebellion (Mujeres de la Costa en Rebeldía), explained that “in the Tonala-Pijijiapan region, people have been convinced that planting these palms is the future, so they will have great profits, but they are not told the consequences that will come with time.”

Currently, palm plantations are based on the lease of land from peasants, which are planted with a high use of pesticides and fertilizers. In addition, large amounts of water are used for the production and for the processing of the extracted oil, which causes the destruction of the soils through erosion and salinization.

In addition, Guadalupe Núñez considered it worrying “how the peasants were deceived with their large areas of land to cultivate the oil palm that, with time, will cause various damages, such as deforestation and water pollution.”

The oil palm monoculture represents a form of land grabbing and destruction of the land and its natural cycles, by using large amounts of water, which causes drying up of rivers, streams, lagoons and springs near the plantations. Consequently, access problems are generated for families, especially for women, girls and boys, who are often responsible for guaranteeing water for domestic and agricultural use in rural areas.

Two documentaries were also presented at the seminar: “Women in Resistance against Oil Palm in Chiapas” and “Women and Oil Palm in Chiapas Resist, Persist and Transform”.

For more information in Spanish:

Mujeres chiapanecas se pronuncian ante la violación de sus derechos por la palma africana (Videos) (EDUCA, 24 agosto, 2021)

Mujeres indígenas y campesinas se pronuncian ante la violación de sus derechos por la palma africana (Chiapas Paralelo, 18 de agosto de 2021)

La Palma Aceitera desde la Palabra de las Mujeres: diagnóstico de la palma aceitera (Elais guineensis Jacq.) y sus efectos en los territorios de Chiapas (Agua y Vida, 18 de agosto de 2021)

Seminario web

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Mujeres se pronuncian frente a los monocultivos de Palma Aceitera(March 16, 2021) 

National: Indigenous Maya Demand Definitive Suspension of Maya Train with over 268,000 Signatures (December 3, 2020)

Chiapas: el gobierno estatal promueve la ampliación del cultivo de agrocombustibles (July 24, 2010) 

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