The project follows a request by the ministry to support strengthening governance of land tenure through the Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT) in the country. It also aims to provide support in policy and sector coordination, address land conflicts and improve information on land-based investments in Tanzania.
FAO developed VGGT in the Context of national food security, as endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security on 11 May 2012 with the aim to promote secure tenure rights and equitable access to land, fisheries and forests as a means of eradicating hunger and poverty, supporting sustainable development and enhancing the environment.
The official inception meeting was held in Mvomero district in Morogoro Region graced by the Morogoro Regional Administrative Secretary, Clifford Tandari, and FAO Representative to Tanzania, Fred Kafeero. Besides Mvomero district, the project will also be implemented in Kilombero, Malinyi, Kilosa and Ulanga which are areas known to have experienced land use conflicts especially between pastoralists and peasants sometimes with violence that resulted into deaths and destruction to property and cattle.
Speaking at the launch Tandari said that the project came timely when the government reviews various policies such as the National Land Policy and also working to resolve land use conflicts in the country including conflicts on forest conservations, conflicts between pastoralists and farmers.
“People depend on access to farmland and rangeland, fisheries and forests for their livelihoods. The way these resources are managed has a direct impact on food security, rural development, economic growth and environmental sustainability,” he said.
The official added: “Proper tenure systems will help to define and regulate how people, communities and others gain access to natural resources, whether through formal or informal arrangements and therefore avoid conflicts.”
Tandari commended FAO’s support through the development of the VGGT saying that they are very crucial in guiding government initiatives in formulation of programs, policies and also ensuring food security.
For his part, Kafeero noted that the VGGT were important to secure equitable access to natural resources, which is key for food security and for development.
“Now we face a lot of challenges from increasing populations, deforestation, fisheries decline, climate change and many more. All these issues present a fertile ground for conflicts over use or control of resources; illegal activities and resource degradation,” he noted.
The FAO representative cautioned that without clearly defined rights of who uses, manages or controls what resources the vulnerable become even more prone to poverty and food insecurity.
The launch was attended by officials from central and local governments including MLHHSD; President Office – Regional Administration and Local Government; Morogoro Region, National Land Use Plan Commission and Mvomero District. Others came from Land Tenure Support Programme, Tanzania Land Alliance, community members, and officials from FAO Tanzania Office .