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Tanzania: Local communities increasingly registering their land to fight land grabs, including by commercial investors

Author: Kizito Makoye, OZY (USA), Published on: 20 November 2018

"Tanzanian farmers crack the code for fighting land grabs", 13 Nov 2018

For nearly a week, Swalehe Nkwale saw unfamiliar surveyors place slabs on parts of Nyamitanga Division land 108 miles south of Dar es Salaam. Then one day, he saw a poster on his own farm declaring that he could no longer grow crops there. It was the start of a decade-long battle against British firm African Green Oil (AGO) and the Tanzanian government. They won that fight, but the Nyamitanga villagers didn’t stop once they got their land back in 2016...In Tanzania, land is public property held by the president as trustee on behalf of the people. Its registration, however, is often a cumbersome process riddled with corruption and mismanagement, according to Transparency International. Though the law requires companies to obtain land through the Tanzania Investment Centre, an independent regulator, firms in some cases have tried to bribe local leaders to directly lease parcels of land...

But finding ways around laws is no longer just the preserve of big companies in Tanzania. Traditionally, individual land-use rights are awarded through what are known as certificates of customary right of occupancy (CCROs). Loure, who has run a nonprofit called the Ujamaa Community Resource Team since 2003, helped forge partnerships between villagers and local authorities, eventually leading to the issuance of the first CCRO in 2013. Communal registration of land use for communities like the Maasai gives them collective strength and bargaining power in negotiations with any land seeker...

And independent of the government, Loure, 46, has his eyes set on securing close to another 800,000 hectares of land for the Maasai and Hadzabe. Tanzania’s farmers and indigenous communities aren’t done staking a claim. The land was theirs, and they intend to get it back.

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Related companies: Agro EcoEnergy