Tanzania: G7-sponsored agribusiness initiative favouring multinationals over local small-scale farmers, says columnist

Author: Anonymous author based in Tanzania, African Arguments (UK), Published on: 21 May 2018

"There isn’t any”: Tanzania’s land myth and the brave New Alliance"

...The New Alliance was launched in 2012 by the countries of the G7 in partnership with ten African countries. It champions the private sector as the key to transforming African agriculture. Scores of multinationals signed up to it, agreeing to help invest $8 billion in participating countries. Tanzania is a particular focus of this grand project. In 2009, its government earmarked a third of the country, labelled The Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), for agricultural development. It hopes the New Alliance and the introduction of foreign corporations can help it raise productivity, which is well below its potential, and boost the economy across the area.

The organisations behind the project boast that Tanzania has 350,000 hectares of available land, which has been offered to investors for at sometimes less than $1 per hectare per year. Glowing reports point out that the country has “good soils, ample water resources, and access to both regional and international markets” and claim that “only 24% of arable land is currently under production”.

Yet the reality appears to be far less straightforward. Although they may not own titles to it, smallholder farmers and pastoralists have been using much of this land for centuries. They say that they have seen much of this property seized, leading to rising conflicts between the two groups over the land that remains. “The clashes between pastoralists and farmers are a clear indicator that there is no free land available for SAGCOT, New Alliance or otherwise”, says Lusugga Kironde, a former government advisor who was commissioned by the World Bank in 2016 to write a report on land tenure. “If there was, we wouldn’t see these clashes. Our own farmers wouldn’t be moving into pastoralist land”.

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