Tanzanian land for equity policy

Tanzanian Minister for Lands and Human Settlements, Professor Anna Tibaijuka, visited the Nordic Africa Institute 30 October.

Kjell Havnevik, heading the NAI Rural Cluster, has conducted research on rural development in Tanzania since the 1970’s, and is now initiating a project that investigates new large scale foreign agricultural investments and its consequences for local farmers.

According to Anna Tibaijuka one problem is that Tanzanian land has not yet been surveyed. For 90 per cent of the villages, borders are unclear and land use planning not conducted, and thus it is unknown to what extent villages can “afford” to cut off land in favor of foreign investors, while not compromising with their own food security. Moreover, fulfilled village land use planning is a legal prerequisite for investors to access village land.

− We need to have that map in our hands to be able to organize these investments. With it we could direct companies to sites with conditions best suited for their specific crops, says Anna Tibaijuka.
Kjell Havnevik is critical to the last 30 years of aid-driven development which has not increased the wealth for subsistence farmers. Neither does he believe that foreign agricultural investments will benefit the local communities to a larger extent.

− Today there are few legal ways for investors to gain access to land. Since mapping is delayed, the government is now trying to push these investments through the new Land for Equity policy. This means investors can access land by granting shares to the government. But the issue of accessing the land will still be there, says Kjell Havnevik.

Anna Tibaijuka also emphasizes the connection between the rural and urban, and the situation for women. One consequence of the failed rural development is, she says, the premature urbanization in Tanzania.
− Women and children are terribly disadvantaged in city slums, says Anna Tibaijuka.

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