Small scale farmers in Tanzania have urged land developers to follow the required procedures in acquiring land in order to reduce the increasing number of conflicts which are now threatening the development of nation.
Speaking at a meeting convened to discuss the fate of small scale farmers recently, Rehema Perer, a farmer from Mbarali District in Mbeya Region said all land conflicts happening in various parts of the country are a result of failure by land seekers to follow the laid down procedures.
The meeting held in Morogoro Municipality was organised by the national network of farmers’ groups in Tanzania (Mviwata) and it attracted 90 participants.
She said most land seekers do not consult the village leaders or convene meeting to get land purchase authorization.
“Even when they follow the procedures, they do not fulfill all of them. As a result conflicts from villagers demanding land emerge,” she said
She said the forceful eviction of farmers and pastoralists from Ihefu wetlands did not follow laid down procedures, as a result some people were killed and others injured.
Even the compensation was not done properly, ad the evicted people were not provided with land, hence the conflict still simmers todate.
Mviwata farmer Sekelaga Sandube from Kapunga valley and Elia Mbambo from Morogoro Rural District blamed the prevailing laws and policies for causing land disputes.
They said the land issue is a historical problem which has never been properly addressed, blaming the government for continuing to use outdated laws and policies which are unjust to the people.
“It is impossible for us villagers to remain quiet as we observe people grabbing our land and give it to investors,” Mbando said.
For his part, assistant lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam Richard Mbunda, said apart from reviewing existing laws, if the government intends to solve the current land crisis, it should turn to the foundations of Arusha Declaration.
He said the declaration put it clearly that all land should ne managed by the public and showed clear methods of utilising it.
“We have witnessed land dispute at Dakawa and Manyara whereby villagers were evicted from their areas, this could not have happened if the declaration was implemented,” he noted.
He said land disputes involving various groups were on the increase, but the speed at which the government was dealing with them was time-consuming.
“There have been conflicts between those who want to use land for investment and villagers who use land for their daily earnings…we something ought to be done to respond to the emerging interests to regulate this situation,” he noted.