VILLAGERS from Kilwa and Rufiji districts have requested the government to involve them in implementation of bio-fuel projects and investments in which huge tracts of land is used.
They told members of the Journalists' Environment Association of Tanzania (JET) who visited the area recently that contracts signed between district councils and various investors should be open.
Speaking at a news conference in Dar es Salaam, JET chairperson Mr Johnson Mbwambo said during their research in Mavuji, Migeregere, Nainokwe and Liwiti villages in Kilwa and Rungungu, Mangwi and Chumbi C in Rufiji, the villagers discovered they had lost big part of their land to investors.
In those villages, JET observed that investment in biofuel left majority of villagers without land after local authorities signed contracts with investors by leasing land for many years. He claimed that JET visited four villages and received complaints from villagers that they were forced by districts and regional leaders to lease a total of 160,000 hectares to an investor based in the Netherlands (name withheld).
According to Mr Mbwambo, the villagers said that for almost two years since the firm started operating in Kilwa district, there is not even a single hectare which is being developed up now for the production of biofuel, instead the international firm used it to cut trees, making wood and export the products.