And just like that this 7 days, 8 nights trip is winding down. Yesterday was spent in the south. Reflections below but here’s a picture from the Pico Mocambo bar 2 nights ago when I was en fuego after going where I went for a taste of the night life before going dancing ( more like going to listen to music although I got down to a few tracks) at discoteca Africana.
even the bar has great art!
The first stop on the south of the island was Boca de enferno ( mouth of fire). Boca de enferno developed from numerous volcanic eruptions hence the fitting name.
Next up was Playa de siete onda (beach with 7 waves). This is truly gorgeous
Just in time to take a few shots it started raining at the beach. This dampened the day a bit but still worth it. On the ride back we passed by a large palm plantation and my questions and curiosity erupted. Joel ( tour guide turned brother) informed that it’s been leased to the Belgian government for 150 years. The plantation employs a lot of men and women from São Tomé as well as others from neighboring Angola.
The flourishing palm groves of Agripalma are the only industrial oil palm plantations in the Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe.
Given the huge need for palm oil to meet local market demand, the São Toméan government has decided to introduce investment policies to attract agro-industrial investors. In 2009, São Tomé and the Socfin Group concluded an agreement for the creation of Agripalma, a concession of just under 5 000 hectares in the south of the island to be used for industrial oil palm cultivation.
A maximum of 60% of the area of the 4 917 hectares concession is devoted to oil palm plantations. Today, 2 210 hectares of palm groves have been planted and the factory – soon to be constructed – will become productive in 2018.
Today, Agripalma is a major economic player on the island, and is expected ultimately to become the largest employer in São Tomé and Príncipe. ( http://www.socfin.com/en/locations/companies/detail/agripalma)
This is good right? That’s the first thought but I just kept thinking why couldn’t the São Toméan government and its people contract the Belgians to support with knowledge in developing a sustainable agribusiness instead of leasing their land to them for 150 years. That’s a long time! So belgium rents the land for what may not be a comparable fee, employs São Toméans and other African to work there and maybe pays them enough to live above poverty or middle class, they work and the palm oil produced is sold other São Toméans and the rest is exported. I’ve never been the best at math but I don’t think the math will add up to the benefit of São Tomé. #africanproblems I’ll try to make time to find more about this.
The recently created Agripalma is also the only large-scale plantation on the island.
Lunch was delicious at Mionga and we drove through the town celebration of San Isidore? ( couldn’t hear Joel’s accent clearly)
I needed this break to recharge and reset. Thanks São Tomé! And thank you for coming along with me. I hope you’ll come along to my next destination.
Happy new year