The call came at the time when government ministries continue with reviewing policies, programmes and strategies.
The alliance works to enhance equitable access to control over, and ownership of land and natural resources through community empowerment, participatory research, joint advocacy and networking.
It has also called upon the general public and smallholder producers in particular, to make sure that they use the opportunity provided by the government to review policies to air their views and comments so that they can be incorporated.
In separate interviews during the meeting to discuss agricultural land based investment in Tanzania held in Dar es Salaam over the weekend they said the main producers of food in this country are the smallholder farmers as such the process of reviewing policies, programmes and strategies should give them required weight.
Discussing the situational analysis in the context of secure land tenure rights of small holder producers for sustainable development, TALA National coordinator Benard Baha called upon all smallholder producers to take advantage of policies review to penetrate their views and comments so that they can be incorporated into policies.
“There are many challenges facing smallholder farmers as far as agricultural land based investments are concerned. I call upon you all to take that opportunity to air your views so that they can be taken on board,” he stressed.
He said as the government proceeds with policy review exercise all groups of people from different backgrounds should be heard and their comments incorporated so that the new policies could be inclusive.
“These smallholder farmers are the main producers of this country. If that is the case, any policy review should first consider their comments to improve and enhance their production and productivity,” he said.
Land tenure specialist for Landesa Masalu Luhula said it is very important for the government to invest in smallholder producers because the record shows it’s the small holder farmers who have been feeding the nation and ensuring food security and nutrition for centuries in the country.
“It is very important to subsidize their production as well as incentives that have been given to the big investments and companies,” he said.
He said the government should target quality investment rather than looking at the big number of investments because some have ended up being burden to the investment surrounding community and the nation at large.
He said both local and foreign investments should undergo serious scrutiny to identify genuine investors rather than ghost investors who don’t comply with responsible investments.
“My message to the general public is that they should make sure that they are well informed regarding all investment process and procedures regarding policy development saying first things are happening when they are directed by the policy and second is the legal reforms that happen in the sector.
Adam Mwarabu from Parakuiyo Pastoralists Indigenous Community Development Organisation (PAICODEO) advised the government to monitor and evaluate the investments instead of giving them opportunity to invest and then they are left unmonitored.
“There must be instruments to look after them. I advice that there must be check and balance and encourage those who are responsible and adhere to the laws of the land and respects the communities around that area,” he said.
“In some areas, investors have fueled land conflicts with the surrounding communities due to unfair land acquisition process and procedures. We need harmony, peace and development. That’s why I advice that these investments should be monitored regularly and encourage genuine investors,” he said.
According to the participants mainly from civil society organisations and those from agro-sector, land and investment policy developments are marred by a number of challenges such as limited coordination and regulation of investment activities, limited participation of main stakeholders in formulation of policies that govern investment matters and in addition to that the focus of the policy review is on promotion of foreign investment and less attention to local investments.