Voluntary guidelines for preventing land grabbing and protect small-scale farmer’s rights need to be reinforced further while boosting investment of African agriculture calls for the G8 attention just like the Berlin conference:
Land grab guidelines provide little aid to farmers – The UN passed a series of voluntary guidelines to prevent land grabbing and protect small-scale farmer’s rights a year ago. But so far the rules haven’t had much impact on foreign investors buying up land. This is an experience from Sierra Leone as observed by FAO.
G8 has a chance to tackle the forgotten scandal of hunger – It seems a long time since G8 leaders last gathered in the UK for their annual get-together. Back in 2005, we were at the height of a global boom and there was a real sense that this could be the summit to Make Poverty History. The week before the G8 convenes once again is a natural time to reminisce about the good old days but this is about more than nostalgia. Even in today’s age of austerity, the G8 has a chance to build on the successes of the Gleneagles summit and, in particular, tackle the forgotten scandal of hunger. Protecting poor people from land grabs, making it easier for them to find out what companies and their governments are doing and stopping the ridiculous situation where G8 members’ policies actively encourage land to be used for growing fuel rather than food: all these will help.
G8 implicated in land grabs risk – action needed at next week’s summit – Since 2000, compaies in G8 countries have acquired land in developing countries more than the size of the whole of Ireland1. This is enough to feed 96 million people every year – almost the total population of the UK and Canada – international agency Oxfam reveals today. The pace and scale of secretive land investments has put vulnerable communities at risk of land grabs, where they lose their homes and farmlands without compensation or consent – and often by violent means.
Tanzania’s forgotten minority groups win rights – Minority groups now have a reason to celebrate, thanks to the first draft of a new constitution for the Federation of the United Republic of Tanzania that has recognised them. Article 45 of the draft, unveiled last week, recognises minority groups such as hunter-gatherers — mainly the Hadzabe and Akiye ethnic groups — for the first time since Independence, over 50 years ago. The Hadzabe and Akiye, whose combined population in the country does not exceed 2,000, live in northern Tanzania and their livelihood depends on wild fruits, honey, and wild meat.
Who reaps and benefits from Tanzania’s natural resources? – Swamps and marshes are a common physical features in Dodoma, especially Bahi District. According to the District Commissioner Ms Betty Mkwasa, paddy thrives better in her district than any other area in Dodoma region. I also took a ride into Manyoni in Singida region, the land of honey, and tasted the sweetness of that natural product which has a very high demand in the world market. Amazingly, every kilometre I covered was like visiting pavilions at an agricultural show. Countless jerry cans of honey were on display on the roadside, “regrettably waiting” to be disposed of as there seemed to be no buyers. When commenting on honey production, in an interview, Mr Boniface Temba of the Regional Administrative Office said that this year, Manyoni District clinched the top national award of the “best honey producer.”
Let us help Africa in boosting agricultural investment– just like in 1884 – One of the stated purposes of the Conference of Berlin in 1884 was to save Africans from the slave trade. To discharge this grave responsibility, Europe’s powers discovered, to their undoubted distress, that they would have to extend their control and ownership of large parts of Africa. One of the stated purposes of the G8 conference, hosted by David Cameron next week, is to save the people of Africa from starvation. To discharge this grave responsibility, the global powers have discovered, to their undoubted distress, that their corporations must extend their control and ownership of large parts of Africa. As a result, they will find themselves in astonished possession of Africa’s land, seed and markets.
TGNP says govt grabbing villagers’ land in regions – The Tanzania Gender and Networking Programme (TGNP) has strongly blamed the government for grabbing the Mshewe residents’ land in Mbeya Rural District and sold it to investors, leaving the villagers as tenants and workers on their ancestors’ land. TGNP Executive Director Usu Mallya revealed this when briefing journalists in Dar es Salaam on the investigation report that was conducted by the NGO in May in the three regions of Morogoro, Shinyanga and Mbeya. Mallya said that investors in Mbeya Region at Mshewe village, in particular have been given the land grabbed by the government leaving the indigenous being mere vasals and tenants in the plantations at low wages. According to the report, Mallya said men are forced to bribe in order to get a chance to work in the plantations. Whereas on the other hand, women and young girls become labourers paid low wages of between 2,500/- and 3,000/- a day.
The G8′s great land-grab – On Saturday David Cameron was celebrating the historic commitments to ending under-nutrition that had been secured under the UK’s G8 presidency. But another less visible development was also being celebrated, namely the decision of Malawi, Nigeria and Benin to join Tanzania, Ghana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso as guinea pigs for the G8′s ‘New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition’. A role is envisaged for smallholders, to whom production would be contracted out by agribusiness. However, the meat of the agreement is on the regulatory front, where the Mozambican government promises ‘incentives for the private sector, especially in developing and implementing domestic input and seed policies’ which is fleshed out to mean ‘ceasing the distribution of free and unimproved seeds’. This comes alongside commitments to reform land rights to facilitate major investments, and to promote free trade.
UK MPs call for transparency on land deals to protect smallholder farmers while stakeholders argue on land ownership consideration in the draft constitution:
Land Matrix partnership launches second phase of its Global Observatory on large scale land acquisitions – The Land Matrix partnership today launches the second phase of the Global Observatory on large scale land acquisitions. The Land Matrix Global Observatory is a tool that promotes transparency in land transactions and supports open data and open source communities focused on land deals. The thoroughly updated dataset allows tracking of large scale land acquisitions, from negotiation to implementation. Since the launch of the Beta version in April 2012, the Land Matrix partnership has received a substantial number of reactions, most of which expressed appreciation for the initiative, though some noted concerns. It provides valuable lessons on the challenges and successes of promoting open data on practices that are often shrouded in secrecy and have led to improving the Land Matrix and its database.
East Africans told to resettle: Are these ‘land grabs’ or progress? – There is little doubt that civil servants indirectly taking World Bank and UK development funds have staffed the resettlement sites. But donors say the poor would have suffered if the funding was withheld. Mass land appropriation is a very new trend in Africa. (See accompanying print story on Maasai lands in Tanzania under bitter dispute.) But the controversy around opening up land for corporate use is hardly restricted to this continent, but can be traced across the equator, to Cambodia and Indonesia among other places. Land is marketed for mining, farms, tourism, suburbs, and multi-purpose crops like palm oil. The core question: Are these crass “land grabs,” or a messy yet progressive move? Today the scale and speed of land deals are larger and faster, says a Western expert with Ethiopia experience, and the interests of people are brushed past in the competitive market.
What about land ownership in draft constitution, Judge Warioba? – A countrywide survey carried out by this paper has shown that many Tanzanians have received the proposed Constitution launched on Monday with mixed feelings, some saying the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) has done a commendable job and others differing. However, some remained pessimistic on the land ownership issue, which they said, does not feature anywhere in the draft. Besides, those interviewed have warned politicians (power mongers) who might wish to interfere with the constitutional councils’ undertakings. Other people expressed fear that the draft should not be endorsed by the Constitutional Assembly because some MPs are likely to suggest that some areas that they think will deny them positions should be removed from the suggested items. Others have proposed Tanganyika to become the official name of the Mainland government instead of Tanzania Mainland.
Government to relocate residents from Zanzibar airport vicinity – President Ali Mohamed Shein has said that residents living close to Zanzibar airport have agreed to vacate the area to pave way for extension of the airport to international standards. Speaking to reporters on his return from a week-long official visit to China on Monday evening, Shein said the “residents are Zanzibaris interested in development; therefore, they have agreed to leave the area for the airport’s extension.” He said the World Bank had approved a USD 36 million loan for the airport expansion project, while Exim bank of China had agreed to disburse USD 70.4 million for construction of the passenger terminal.
Power, Rights, and Inclusive Markets: Public policies that support small-scale agriculture – By supporting small-scale agricultural producers, policy makers in governments and donor agencies can help some of the poorest people in the world to improve their livelihoods. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that most donor and government policies are currently biased towards large-scale agriculture at the expense of small-scale producers, women, and rural communities. Tanzania has encouraged joint titling of land, supported female household heads to receive land titles in their own names, and supported married women to gain sole title of land where appropriate. The country has also introduced gender quotas for local land administration committees.
When land gets grabbed, do women get sidelined? – Development practitioners and policy makers have been slow to recognize women’s vital and diverse role in food security. Linked to this, little is being done to understand the relationship between women and land grabbing. Amidst land grabbing discussions and debates on the benefits of smallholder farms vs. large mechanized farms, we seem to have left out an important discussion. What happens to rural women when corporations grab up land in Africa? Oxfam’s new report, Promise, Power and Poverty, takes a deeper look into the immediate impact of land investments “on women’s land use-options, on their livelihoods, on food availability and the cost of living, and ultimately, on women’s access to land for food production.” Women often lack formal land rights in most developing countries, and especially in Sub-Saharan Africa where less than 20% of women own land.
UK MPs call for transparency on land deals to protect smallholder farmers – MPs on the international development committee have expressed concern about the purchase of large areas of land in poor countries cultivated by smallholder farmers, calling for UK-domiciled companies to be transparent about land deals. The committee report, Global Food Security, called for full implementation of the UN voluntary guidelines on the governance of tenure, which recognise and respect all legitimate tenure rights and the people who hold them. Britain has expressed support for the voluntary guidelines and UK officials have said the issue would be discussed at the G8 summit of industrialised countries in Northern Ireland on 17 June. On Saturday, the UK is co-hosting a nutrition summit with the Brazilian government and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation to highlight the importance of improving nutrition.
Tanzanian farmers displaced by mining live like refugees – The residents of Mine Mypa were evicted by the Tanzanian government to make way for the Geita Gold Mine (GGM), operated by gold mining company Anglogold Ashanti, which is headquartered in South Africa. In a written letter to IRIN, the company said that the village lay within the mine’s Special Mining License area. The Sophiatown farmers are just a few of the thousands of Tanzanian families who have been forcefully relocated by mining activity in recent years. According to Tanzania’s land laws, displaced communities have the right to be properly compensated. The1999 Land Act specifies that there should be “full, fair and prompt compensation to any person whose right of occupancy or recognized long-standing occupation or customary use of land is revoked or otherwise interfered with to their detriment by the state.” The country’s 2001 Land or Compensation Claims Regulation provides further clarity on compensation.
Consider support female smallholder farmers fight against landgrabbing, by supporting IF campaign – The food system is broken. In 2013, we need our leaders to do four important things to fix it. IF they take these steps, it will change the future for millions of children. This year could be the beginning of the end for global hunger. The good news is that there is enough food in the world to feed everyone. So, while the earth appears indeed to be the ‘common Treasury of livelihood to the whole of mankind’ John Cooke spoke about, combatting hunger and extreme poverty needs people who pursue the welfare of all and address injustice on a local, national and global level. Fortunately, there are plenty of examples in the global South and North who do just that: The Enough Food IF campaign aims to support community activists such as Halima Ali, a smallholder farmer in the Kisarawe district of Tanzania, who lost the capabilty to feed her family when a …
The government calms Loliondo residents – The government has at last calmed down angry Loliondo residents in Ngorongoro district who have been battling against its decision to chop off 1,500 square kilometres from their area. Leaders from Loliondo area, including the traditional ‘Laigwanan’ elders, councillors and representatives of pastoralists have at different times met the government, including Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, protesting against the decision. The state is mulling over chopping off a 1,500 sq km bordering the Serengeti National Park, out of 4,000 sq km for a “wildlife corridor”. Ngorongoro Constituency MP Kaika Saning’o Ole Telele ( CCM) spoke to The Guardian on Sunday over the phone from Dodoma yesterday and confirmed news about the government’s letter to Loliondo residents. The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) on its part has written a protest letter to Kagasheki, urging him to restrain from implementing such a decision because it is likely to create more tension.
Tanzania has re-entered large-scale gold mining with a bang, with six gold mines opening up since 1998. Production is high and rising, and today the country is the third-largest gold producer on the continent after South Africa and Ghana. In 1995 the adoption of the National Land Policy was followed in 1999 by enactment of the Land Act and Village Land Act. These acts came only a year after a new Minerals Policy and the Mining Act came into force, and all took on board the essentials of the ERP. However, the two frameworks remained separate and contradictory, to the detriment of the relationship between stakeholders.
However, the concerns – of communities over land tenure and of mining companies over land access – are yet to be reconciled within the land and mineral regulatory frameworks. Governance in Tanzania’s gold mining industry remains an area of serious concern, as conflicts over land and licensing issues are prevalent among stakeholders, and ensuing conflicts indicate that mining contracts are lopsided. The potential contribution of gold to the Tanzanian economy is limited by these conflicting laws and policies, which give rise to issues of land degradation (as by small- and large-scale mining), access to land and compensation for the loss of land. Large-scale gold mines generate more waste per ounce than any other mineral. It is estimated that extracting one ounce of gold requires the removal of more than 250 tons of rock and ore. These are the piles of infertile soil seen around gold mines all over the world, and Tanzania is no exception to this practice.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation estimated that, for every gram of gold recovered, 2–5 grams of mercury is released into the environment. Of course, the industry has put in place safety measures to manage the poisons, but the precautions can be violated or mismanaged. Between 2005 and 2008 chemical disposals from the processing plants at the North Mara Mine (NMM) in Tanzania’s Tarime District created environmental and land hazards that adversely affected the surrounding communities. This policy brief as attached underneath shows evidently that if legal and policy frameworks for land and mining are not further harmonised, conflicts will continue and the economy will not reap all the benefits of gold production.
The government defends its land dispute settlement system while villagers the Barbaig community in have been granted the right to own their customary land:
Migration is expulsion by another name in world of foreign land deals – Though the acquisition of land by foreign governments and firms is a centuries old process in much of the world, we can detect specific phases in these long and diverse histories. More than 200m hectares (about 500m acres) were bought from 2006 to 2012, and buyers ranged from established agro-businesses to newcomers such as hedge-funds and financial firms. In addition, more government agencies started buying land, with a host of newcomers – including China, South Korea and Sweden – joining long-terms acquirers such as Japan and the US. The scale of acquisitions over a short period of time, and the way that newly acquired land is utilised, often does violence to the status quo. When a foreign government acquires 2.8m hectares of land in Congo and another such tract in Zambia to grow palm for biofuels, it expels faunas and floras, and all other uses of that land.
Foreign land deals: global land grabbing? – There is a rising trend in the number of what are called foreign land deals in many countries across the globe, covering up to million hectares of land. The scale and rate at which these deals have taken place, plus the institutions involved in the transactions have made these deals controversial. These have been referred to as “land grabs” because of the usually unfair terms by which they have been transacted. According to non-government organization GRAIN, the Philippines is among the leading target countries for land deals, with others like Sudan, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, etc. This is despite provisions in the Philippine Constitution barring foreigners from owning land in the country. Global land grabbing was first noticed with the involvement of China and Middle Eastern countries. So-called food insecure countries have sought to outsource their local food production by gaining land control in other countries.
Minister defends land dispute settlement system – The government has defended the existing system of using land councils and tribunals from the lower level to resolve ever rising land disputes in the country. Winding up the Ministry of Land, Housing and Human Settlement budget estimates for the 2013/14 financial year here on Tuesday evening, Minister, Prof Anna Tibaijuka refuted claims that the system has failed to deliver. Prof Tibaijuka’s budget was approved in which the ministry would spend TZS billion 72,172,349,000.00 on development projects during the financial year 2013/2014. A total of TZS billion 108,330,273, 040.00 was approved for the financial year. Prof Tibaijuka reminded MPs that land councils and tribunals were created to ease the burden of courts, which she said they struggled in resolving piled up land disputes. “We also felt that mediation channel would be a solution than legal procedures (ruling against one side in favour of the other) in resolving land issues.
MPs fault land conflict solving mechanism – The government has been advised to overhaul the current system of resolving land conflicts, with several MPs suggesting that the existing structure has failed to deliver. They felt that it was high time land conflicts were dealt with by the Ministry of Legal and Constitutional Affairs unlike the current system in which village land councils, ward land tribunals, district land and housing tribunals and the Land Division of the High Court of Tanzania fall under different jurisdictions. Debating the budget estimates for the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development here, several MPs said under the current system, village land councils and ward land tribunals fall under the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Administration (TAMISEMI). Prof Tibaijuka also called on the councils to enforce planning of cities and stick to urban planning building regulations, to avoid shoddy projects which can result into the collapse of buildings in cities.
AU at 50: Land issues plague Africa as states lease out community land to foreigners – This week the African Union celebrates its 50th anniversary. How far has the continent come in those fifty years? For one thing, the land that Africans fought to reclaim from foreign colonisers is being once again taken away from them, this time not by force but through purchase — their leaders are literally selling it from under their feet. This is perhaps the most urgent continent-wide issue the African Union needs to address. More than 60 per cent of the African population lives in rural areas and depends on land for its survival. However, reports show that in 2010, up to 123.5 million acres of African land — double the size of Britain — had been grabbed from peasants with the help of their governments.
Villagers granted right to own their land – After battling for their customary land for seven years, the Barbaig community in the ‘Vilima-Vitatu’ wilderness of Babati District, Manyara Region, have finally won a court case against a French investor who wanted to seize their land. The Barbaig, part of the larger Datoga group of people, have, however, urged the government to oversee the execution of the court ruling which has reinstated them to resettle on their land previously allocated to a French investor, Un-Lodge En- Afrique (ULEA). Speaking at Vilima- Vitatu area, the nomadic pastoralists said that despite winning the case against the Vilima- Vitatu Village Council and the Burunge Wildlife Management Area in the Court of Appeal, they are still restrained to graze and settle on that land. The panel of Judges of the Court of Appeal, Justices January Msoffe, Sauda Mjasiri and Ibrahim Juma in their ruling of Civil Appeal Number 77 of 2012, ruled in favour of the 17 villagers in the case filed in 2008.
Prof Tibaijuka warns against land sale deals with foreigners – The Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlement Development, Prof Anna Tibaijuka, told the National Assembly here while presenting budget estimates for the 2013/14 financial year that the government will not tolerate people selling land to foreigners. “The government is aware that foreigners, especially from the East African region have been sneaking in the country in an attempt to acquire land illegally with the help from local and dishonest officials,” she said. “It is against the law for individuals to sell land to foreigners laws. I appeal to Tanzanians to realise that the laws on the land are still intact and applicable. The law doesn’t give room for individuals to sell land to foreigners,” she said. On April 5, Tibaijuka ordered the demolition of the building, giving a 30-day ultimatum, but nothing has happened to date, which prompted the committee to question the powers of the central government vis-à-vis local governments.
MPs disappointed on pace of solving land disputes – Lawmakers yesterday expressed disappointment on the pace at which the government is addressing land disputes pointing an accusing finger at some of its officials saying they partly fuel clashes among the people. The MPs were debating the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Human Settlements Development budget estimates for the year 2013/2014 in which Minister Prof Anna Tibaijuka is requesting TZS 108,330,273,040.00. Faustine Ngungulile (Kigamboni, CCM), said some officials from Lands ministry were partly contributing to the increasing land disputes in the country. Citing the project of Kigamboni satellite city, he said his people were not involved in deciding on its implementation. The Lawmaker said that five years have passed since the project was announced but nothing has been done on the project and people have failed to develop their residences. Prof Tibaijuka said that Kigamboni residents who will be compensated will be given first priority to buy the houses.
Land acquisitions by foreign investors for agricultural purposes have increased rapidly in the last few years, particularly in countries in the Global South. This recent phenomenon is often referred to as ‘land grabbing’. Tanzania might be among the top ten countries worldwide in terms of the amount of land handed over to foreign investors. Investors from all over the world have expressed their intention to obtain long-term leases for several thousand hectares of land, or have already done so. The current rise in interest in Tanzania’s land and related concerns about its consequences for local people and the environment are broadly discussed, not only among academia and advocacy groups including the Let’s Talk Land platform, but recently also in Tanzanian political circles. A private motion handed in by the Member of Parliament Halima Mdee in November 2012 allegedly caused a hot debate in Parliament. The underneath video highlights some of the related key issues.
In the absence of an easily available source of reliable up-to-date data on foreign land deals in Tanzania, many reports have been published that attempt to provide an overview of these deals. While providing this overview is challenging due to the dynamic and non-transparent nature of the ‘land grab’ phenomenon itself, it has become even more debatable due to certain questionable methods of using and quoting existing data. This leads to several flaws including the ‘virtual survival’ of cancelled land deals ‘on paper’. The consequences are an unnecessarily blurred picture of the land deal situation in Tanzania, and thus an inadequate basis for related political decisions or social actions and a misleading starting point for new research projects. In this paper as attached below some of the flaws are illustrate in the use of data so far and give an updated and carefully grounded overview of foreign land deals in Tanzania as of December 2012 as published by the Land Deal Politics Initiative in collaboration with institutions.