20 January 2013

Tanzania: Land Disputes Disrupt Development Schemes

WHILE the National Land Policy states that non citizens shall not be granted land unless for investment purposes under the Investment Promotion Act, claims of land ownership even after years without developing it continue to disrupt community projects.

The same document (Land Policy) clearly states that land will be allocated to investors according to their ability to develop it and that the interests of citizens over their land shall be safeguarded, operations on the ground prove different.

During discussions between the Speaker of the National Assembly, Anne Makinda and the Ambassador of South Korea to Tanzania, Chung H, the issue of land disputes and the inconvenience caused to development partners came up.

The session was held at the parliamentary offices in Dar es Salaam on Friday and the Ambassador was accompanied by a delegation of Korean business personalities interested in extensive investment in mining and technology.

Ambassador Chung informed the Speaker that in the course of implementation of an Integrated Rural Development Project in Pangawe in Morogoro Region, land dispute hampered progress of the project. The US Dollar 4.5 million worth project was meant to benefit farmers and residents in the project site.

"The four-year project (2010 - 2013) is designed to enhance the agriculture infrastructure and develop human resources in the field of agricultural industry. After two years farmers increased productivity seven times," explained Ambassador Chung.

However, before the project came to climax, someone identified as an investor from South Africa launched a legal battle against the village leadership claiming that the land for the project belonged to him. The Speaker, Anne Makinda said she would like to see more of such community development projects reach a larger section of the public.

She sounded resolute for her office to make interventions and help address the challenge once and for all. "Development partners like the Republic of Korea have a lot to share with Tanzanians. We need to attain higher levels in both agricultural and industrial production to meet international standards. We need to strike a balance between exports and imports.

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