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News

May 18, 2013

HERAKLES FARMS SUSPENDS CAMEROON OPERATIONS IN COMPLIENCE WITH THE RECENTLY ISSUED STOPPAGE ORDER FROM THE MINISTRY OF FORESTRY & WILDLIFE (MINFOF)

Herakles Farms (also known as SG-SOC in Cameroon) (“Company”), a United States-based agriculture company with operations in Ghana and Cameroon, today, announced that it has suspended work in Cameroon in response to an order it received from the Government of Cameroon’s Ministry of Forestry & Wildlife (MINFOF).

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March 2013

"Herakles Farms in Retrospective, 2012 Success Story" Article from Watchman

Herakles Farms is focused on large-scale sustainable agricultural projects in Africa. The Herakles Farms management team has a proven track record development and shared value in some of the least developed African countries and received numerous awards for its work.

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March 11, 2013

"More communities pledge support for Herakles Farms," Article by Atia Tilarious Azhohnwi in The Sun

"SGSOC (Herakles Farms) always consults the communities. These are your real partners and stakeholders. We thank you for recognizing the importance of the community. In many respects, SGSOC is our own minister. It is the partner that is going to bring us the development that we need."

Dr. Chief Atem-Ebako, Chief of Talangaye Village made this statement on Saturday March 9 at the Kumba City Council Hall during the maiden Annual General Assembly of the association formed to ensure the smooth implementation of the memorandum of understanding signed between the company and the villages where the project is taking place.

SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon-project affected Villages (SGSOC-PAV) is put in place to have an oversight and ensure the effective implementation of the commitments in the MoU, common commitment and future agreements entered into between Herakles Farms and the project affected villages.

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February 27, 2013

Herakles Farms Responds to Recent Reports on its Cameroon Project

Herakles Farms is concerned that the public is being misled by recent reports on its project in Cameroon, and we are working to clarify misinformation and false allegations. Herakles Farms is and has always operated legally within the Republic of Cameroon. We are following free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) procedures and obtained all of the required consents, approvals and permits from the Government of Cameroon. We meet regularly with senior government officials who support the project, and the government has never taken any actions against us. Herakles Farms remains committed to following World Bank IFC Performance Standards and RSPO Principles and Criteria in collaboration with the government and the local people to bring sustainable economic development, shared value and employment to this region.

We are committed to environmental sustainability and would like to highlight that there has never been a field study of the flora and fauna in our legal project area to demonstrate that it is of high conservation value.

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January 16, 2013

HERAKLES FARMS INITIATES PROGRAMS TO MEET COMMUNITY HEALTH AND SOCIAL NEEDS

Over the holidays, Herakles Farms (also known as SGSOC), a New York-based agriculture company operating in Ghana and Cameroon, donated food to 1,700 households in 38 villages located in the Nguti subdivision of Kupe-Muanenguba and in Mundemba and Toko in Ndian. In total, 11 tons of rice and 10 tons of fish were distributed to more than 8,000 individuals in the Nguti, Mundemba and Toko areas.

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January 14, 2013

Herakles Farms Appoints Dr. Atanga Ekobo as Vice President of Conservation in Cameroon

Herakles Farms (also known as SG-SOC), a New York-based agriculture company operating in Ghana and Cameroon, today announced the appointment of Dr. Atanga Ekobo to the position of Vice President of Conservation. Dr. Ekobo’s hire marks one of many steps that Herakles Farms is taking to strengthen its in-house environmental conservation capabilities as the company continues to pursue the highest environmental standards with respect to its commercial palm oil project in the South West Region of Cameroon.

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December 17, 2012

"Changing lives of people: Herakles Farms undertakes to rehabilitate Kumba-Nguti road," Article by Eddy Bokuba in The Median

Caterpillars from Herakles Farms are presently bulldozing, grading and compacting bad spots on the highly degraded and almost impossible road that links Meme and Manyu divisions of the South West region. The rehabilitation work will concentrate mostly on bad portions along the Ikillwindi-Mbakwa supe lap of the very strategic road that not only links Meme and Manyu divisions of the South West region, but transits to Nigeria.

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December 9, 2012

"Kumba-Nguti Road Accessible Again," Article by Bouddih Adams in The Cameroon Post

Commuters and motorists have heaved a sigh of relief, as they can now make it to Mamfe and back the same day, thanks to Herakles Farms' heavy equipment that is currently bulldozing and excavating the dreadful spots on the road from Baduma to Mbakwa-Supe. Meanwhile, from the other end, the road is being graded and compacted with seawall, all the way back to Baduma which lies some 40km from Kumba.

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December 7, 2012

"Herakles Farms improves Kumba-Nguti road," Article by Diana Egne Arrey N. in The Sun

Inhabitants along the Kumba-Mbakwa Supe-Nguti highway and commuters travelling this road have heaved a sigh of relief following recent rehabilitation work on the road carried out by Herakles Farms, a subsidiary of SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon, SGSOC. The road, which was previously almost impassable, can now be plied easily by vehicles.

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October 22, 2012

Herakles Farms Awards College Scholarships for 26 Students in First Annual Dr. Isidore Timti Memorial Scholarship Fund

Herakles Farms, an American agriculture company focused on identifying and implementing solutions to important food security issues in Africa, today announced that it has awarded college scholarships to 26 Cameroonian students in a newly established merit-based program that recognizes the academic achievement of some of the nation's most promising undergraduates.

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September 16, 2012

Open Letter of Bruce Wrobel, CEO of Herakles Farms

Response to the Report Issued September 2012 by the Oakland Institute titled "Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa" with the sub - heading "…The Deceit of Herakles Farms in Cameroon".

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September 06, 2012

Herakles Farms withdrawal from RSPO

As per the following letter Herakles Farms has recently withdrawn from RSPO, but we remain committed to meeting or exceeding RSPO Principles & Criteria, as well as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standards. We realize there may be questions stemming from this decision. Please direct these inquiries via email to rspo@heraklesfarms.com. We will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.

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April, 2012

In April 2012, the Mundemba High Court affirmed that SGSOC had complied with the environmental and land-related Government regulations and was in order for legal operation in Cameroon. The litigation by a local NGO to stop the project has been dismissed by the Courts, and no legislation is pending. At no point during this process did the court suggest Herakles Farms was operating illegally nor was a Presidential Decree identified as one of the items. Below are court documents detailing these legal rulings and resolution.

SEFE Court Ruling
SEFE Court Resolution
Bangem Court Ruling




March 23, 2012

SGSOC donates materials to schools in Ndian Division

In order to encourage and enhance the education of the Cameroonian youth, wherever they establish their operations, SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon Limited (SGSOC), Sunday March 11, 2012 at Toko Subdivision donated a set of reference texts books in the subject areas of Mathematics, English and French to 35 post primary institutions in the nine subdivisions of Ndian Division.

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February 19, 2012

SGSOC donates Mosquito netting

SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon (SGSOC) has purchased 1,500 mosquito nets which will be distributed to households within their concession area, working in parallel with the Cameroon Government’s “Fight against Malaria” initiative.

Purchase of an additional 1,500 nets is planned, in recognition of the fact that malaria is endemic to this area, affecting large numbers of people. One way of fighting malaria is through the use of long lasting, insecticide treated nets.

“We are very happy to contribute to long term improved health within our communities,” said Daniel Agoon, Community Relations Manager for SGSOC. “SGSOC is committed to improving the health and quality of life of our employees and neighbors through illness prevention, fresh water wells, and longer term programs to be rolled out shortly.” SGSOC Community Development Officers will participate in Government training programs and will then organize training sessions in all of the villages.

The mosquito nets will be distributed to households by SGSOC’s team of Community Development Officers. This program will begin with the villages of Talangaye, Ayong, Lipenja, Fabe, and Meangwe II, and will continue with remaining villages within the project region.





September 14, 2011

Herakles Farms Releases Environmental & Social Impact Assessment, Launches Social Infrastructure Program

Herakles Farms, a New York-based agriculture company operating in Ghana and Cameroon, has released its preliminary Environmental & Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for its Cameroon palm oil company, SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon (SGSOC). The document was submitted to the Government of Cameroon for public consultation on 16 August, 2011, and consultations in accordance with the Government's requirements took place from 29 August until 3 September, 2011. In addition to the ...

Herakles Farms, a New York-based agriculture company operating in Ghana and Cameroon, has released its preliminary Environmental & Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for its Cameroon palm oil company, SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon (SGSOC). The document was submitted to the Government of Cameroon for public consultation on 16 August, 2011, and consultations in accordance with the Government's requirements took place from 29 August until 3 September, 2011. In addition to the Government-required consultations and to include the international community, Herakles Farms will post the ESIA on its website at http://www.heraklescapital.com/agriculture.html for an additional 30 days of public consultation beginning on 14 September, 2011.

The ESIA outlines critical information relating to SGSOC's development plans, potential impacts, measures to enhance positive impacts, and measures to avoid and mitigate potential negative impacts. It also elaborates on the company's commitment to working with the neighboring communities to develop social infrastructure that will enhance their well being. Social infrastructure commitments are important to local communities in the Southwest Region of Cameroon due to the current underdevelopment of potable water, road networks, and quality education and health services.

The company recently launched one such social infrastructure program with the drilling of its first fresh-water well in the village of Fabe. The facility is near completion, after which Herakles Farms will continue to develop wells in communities in need throughout its concession. The development of roads, schools and health clinics is expected to commence in the first half of 2012. All social infrastructure programming is planned with consultation from the communities to ensure participatory economic development.

In order to encourage and enhance the education of the Cameroonian youth, wherever they establish their operations, SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon Limited (SGSOC), Sunday March 11, 2012 at Toko Subdivision donated a set of reference texts books in the subject areas of Mathematics, English and French to 35 post primary institutions in the nine subdivisions of Ndian Division.




June 15, 2011

Herakles Farms Develops Sustainable Palm Oil Plantations in Cameroon & Ghana

Herakles Farms, a New York-based agriculture company, is planning two commercial-scale sustainable palm oil plantations in Cameroon and Ghana, providing over 10,000 jobs to local people and introducing an important new growth opportunity to the Central and West African regions. Herakles Farms began working on the project in 2009, when it acquired 100 percent ownership in SG Sustainable Oils from Sithe Global, an affiliate of the Blackstone Group. Blackstone has no stake in Herakles Farms, contrary to what has erroneously been reported. The plantations will follow the highest environmental and social standards, ...

Herakles Farms, a New York-based agriculture company, is planning two commercial-scale sustainable palm oil plantations in Cameroon and Ghana, providing over 10,000 jobs to local people and introducing an important new growth opportunity to the Central and West African regions. Herakles Farms began working on the project in 2009, when it acquired 100 percent ownership in SG Sustainable Oils from Sithe Global, an affiliate of the Blackstone Group. Blackstone has no stake in Herakles Farms, contrary to what has erroneously been reported. The plantations will follow the highest environmental and social standards, complying fully with Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Principles & Criteria. RSPO is a not-for-profit association that unites stakeholders from the palm oil industry to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil.

"We are very excited to be developing one of the largest sustainable palm oil plantations in Africa, establishing an African stake in one of the fastest-growing global food crops. The need for local supply is significant. In 2009, Africa imported approximately 4 million tons of palm oil, primarily from Indonesia and Malaysia. Currently, the continent's average per capita consumption of oils and fats is only about 11 kg, compared to the world average of about 24 kg," said Bruce Wrobel, CEO of Herakles Farms. "In addition to reducing dependence on imports for this food staple, the plantations will deliver a whole range of benefits for the local population, including jobs, housing, health clinics, clean water and schools, while safeguarding the incredible biodiversity of this part of the world."

No planting on primary forest or high conservation value forest (HCVF) will be done, and buffer zones between the plantations and those regions will be maintained. Herakles Farms is engaging with the local communities throughout the planning and development process. The project will not require any local villages to move from their land, and strategies to assist local farmers in best practices for resource efficiency and yield enhancement are being planned. The investment in these two plantations follows a several-year evaluation process, which included environmental impact assessments focusing on wildlife and plantlife by local and international organizations, as well as assessments of criteria such as climate, infrastructure, and the quality of local governance.

Global demand for palm oil is rising rapidly with population growth. Consumption increased by 50% in the five year period from 2004 to 2009. Palm oil has the highest yield per hectare among vegetable oil-yielding crops, meaning that less land is required for production, and it requires comparatively lower amounts of inputs such as fertilizer, fuel and pesticides. The World Bank notes that, "with a population increase of 11.6 percent and a 5 percent increase in per capita consumption, an additional 28 million tonnes of vegetable oils will have to be produced annually by 2020. Palm oil is well placed to meet this demand with the lowest requirement for new land." Large oil palm plantations also generate more employment per unit area than most other large scale farming operations, such as soybeans.

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