Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

9 July 2014

Tanzania: Residents Protest Against New Kisarawe Investor

RESIDENTS of Kisarawe District in Coast Region have expressed their surprise at new investors at the former Sun Biofuels Plc jatropha farm who have since introduced 100 herds of cattle in the area.

"We are shocked by this latest development because it has no consent of our villages as we are still pressing for compensation from Sun Biofuels," said Ms Amina Ali of Muhaga village and a member of task force formed in 2012 to follow up on proper compensation for the over 8,000 hectares jatropha farm.

Ms Ali said district officials introduced Mpanga Farms as new owners of the area which is still under dispute as villagers claim the defunct Sun Biofuels paid them peanuts to acquire the land in 2008.

"We are still pressing for our proper compensation and therefore it's not proper for the new investor to take over," she argued. UK based Sun Biofuels acquired over 8,000ha of land from eight villages of Kisarawe compensating them only 280m/- instead of the 800m/- promised in 2010.

In September 2011, the company sacked its 300 plus workers and closed shop saying dry weather had affected jatropha development.

"There is trouble in Kisarawe because officials are already introducing another investor without consulting the public although the issue of compensation still hangs unresolved," said Land Alliance activist, Mr Lecian Mollel. Mr Mollel said villagers are enraged by the latest development and have warned against possible confrontation with the Mpanga Farm owners.

"District officials should stop intimidating people and instead explain to them what the new investors will do and also resolve the issue of compensation," Mollel argued.

The British firm had earlier promised to compensate communities allocating portions of land for its jatropha project, over 800m/- and investing 20 million British pounds sterling.

An official from Kisarawe District investment committee said the farm changed hands legally between SBF Plc and the new investor, hence not subject for authorities.

SBF abandoned the Kisarawe project because of financial problems and a European Union clarification that any biofuels produced from jatropha cultivated on arable land would not qualify entry into its energy sector. The EU which issued a directive in 2008 requiring 20 per cent of energy sources in the bloc should be renewable.

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