“We have put in place stringent laws to protect the Ngorongoro area. These laws should be reviewed since they are outdated and derail people’s development,” said NCAA Conservation Commissioner, Dr Freddy Manongi in a recent interview with this paper.
Dr Manongi said the aim is to create an environment that would also allow villagers to continue with their agricultural and livestock keeping activities.
“The laws prohibit villagers from cultivating in the area, but we all know that agriculture is the key to development,” he said, noting that villagers are even required to seek permission from the conservation commissioner to build houses.
“These laws are anti-human development. We must change them to facilitate development as they also restrict villagers from building water wells.”
He said currently there are many conflicts between NCAA and the villagers due to increased population as well as lack of grazing land. He said the area had 8,000 people in 1959 but the number increased to 93,000 in 2017.
At that time NCAA covered an area measuring 8,992 hectares, now reduced to 8,100 hectares due to encroachment.
“There were 5,000 rhinos in 1972, but we remain with 100 rhinos. Previously, the large animals were scattered all over the conserved area, but they are now camping at some few areas,” the conservator elaborated.
Increased population size, limited grazing land and stringent laws cause conflicts between the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) and surrounding villagers, he declared.
Dr Manongi recalled that in 2018 the Tourism and Natural Resources Minister Dr Hamisi Kigwangala formed a special committee tasked with proposing a better land use plan permitting villagers to continue with farming activities.
“The committee has completed its job. The report has been handed over to the minister before it is taken to the president,” he stated.
However, traditional leaders at the area have complained of being sidelined by the committee.
Medukenya Nepukol said: “We were not given a chance to present our opinions on the matter. The prepared report which will later be presented to the president does not include residents’ opinions.”