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Govt urged to reduce land size granted to biofuel businesses

14th November 2012
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The government has been urged to reduce the maximum land size of each bio-fuel developer from the proposed 20,000 ha to 10,000 ha and give investors conditions which would enable them deliver.

Speaking during a two-day workshop which was convened to comment on the proposed policy recently in Dar es Salam, some bio-fuel stakeholders said the land size is too big for the investors and threatening to deny land to locals.

The meeting organised by Tanzania Bio-energy Forum (Tabef), and attracting over 35 participants from Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Morogoro regions was supported by World Wide fund for nature (WWF).

Yefred Myenzi, said experience shows that in the past some investors were provided with huge land hence they could not develop for their own reasons.

“We have clear instances in Kisarawe and Bagamoyo districts in Coast Region and Kilwa District in Lindi Region where some international companies were given huge lands for bio-plant production but could not do so due to various reasons including financial crisis,” he stated.

He said the lands were given to them, leaving thousands of villagers without land hence it created misunderstandings with investors to regain their lost land.
Myenzi, who is Executive Director of Haki Ardhi, said the government has to learn from the past experience and reduce the size of land given to investors.

Peter Sumbi, another stakeholder speaking at the event, said they want to see bio-fuel benefiting more Tanzanians and conducted under sustainable development.

He said there is a need to see that investors in bio-fuel industry perform their duties under the right direction.
“We have had a bad experience from the previous investors who most of them ran away from the industry, the government should make sure that does not happen again for the betterment of the economy and Tanzanians,” he added.

The forum also proposed to include other forms such as sisal wastes, sugarcane waste (molases), timber saw dusts and wattle trees in the proposed policy.

They said the government will ensure that land acquisition for bio-fuels development does not lead to displacement of local land users and that land will be acquired through open and transparent ways after thorough sensitization and consent of host communities.

The forum urged the government to ensure that no acquisition of land takes place in areas where local communities derive their livelihoods from them.

According to the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, the National Liquid Bio-fuels Policy is developed to provide guidance for a comprehensive framework for bio-fuels feedstock production, processing, marketing and utilization of liquid bio-fuels products in a sustainable manner.

The policy therefore, addresses several development goals including energy security, income generation and employment creation, domestic investments in production, processing and use; expanded opportunities for rural development; reduced dependence on imported petroleum products (petrol, diesel) through low blending or introduction of flexi-fuel vehicles; gradual substitution of traditional cooking fuels; and industrial investments creating both technology and knowledge development.

Government will therefore, strengthen institutional capacity, legal and regulatory framework to manage provide the required services in collaboration with stakeholders to ensure sustainable development of the liquid bio-fuels industry.

The Guidelines for Sustainable Liquid Bio-fuels Development in Tanzania were prepared in 2010 as a tool to guide local and foreign investors. The Guidelines were only interim measure before the policy, legal regulatory and institutional framework are in place.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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