Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa) has launched a friendly programme through which it would be contributing about 70 per cent of the total cost of any development project initiated by the community living around the national parks.
Announcing before journalists here during a workshop on domestic tourism, Tanapa director general Allan Kijazi said that the aim was to bring the organisation closer to the people around its parks, because it was aware that the community around was important stakeholders for the sustainability of the parks.
He said Tanapa was expecting even the community around the parks to take part in security and preserving the surrounding environment, therefore it is necessary to be closer to the community so that they could share the benefit from the parks.
"We have launched this programme and in operational we have been supporting the community development projects like building schools and dispensaries, we take about 70 percent of a total project cost…you can see how far we are trying to establish good relations with the community around our parks," he said.
Speaking about land disputes between Tanapa and the community Kijazi said that they have no land conflicts against the community, but what is happening was the problem of lacking education by some community members on land laws and Tanapa was going to educate them about the demarcations of the parks.
He said always whenever disputes happen they sat with the community leaders to settle the matters, added that in some areas they had released some of the land to community members so that they could build houses and run agricultural activities.
"As you know there is an increase in population and people are demanding more land for housing and cultivation. Because many of them do not know our demarcations they enter into national parks areas…but whenever this happens, we use polite ways to settle the matter with them...when possible we can release the land to them but in some areas it is difficult, so we compensate them and leave the land peaceful," he said.
However, he blamed the politicians saying they are the ones who fueled land conflicts between Tanapa and the community members due to differences in political ideology.
He further said that despite such challenges, Tanapa was still continuing with the programme to educate people, because according to Kijazi that was the best way to wipe out land disputes.
The workshop drew together journalists from Tanga, Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Manyara regions who said they were determined to promote domestic tourism so that many Tanzanians could visit tourist attractions.