By, Godfrey Eliseus Massay - LBI Coordinator, TNRF
In the last decade, much has happened in the Tanzania land sector. We have seen the development of major initiatives that provide the framework for increasing agricultural investment including in 2009 Kilimo Kwanza, in 2010 the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor (SAGCOT), in 2012 the G8 New Alliance supported by USAID, and in 2013 the Big Results Now (BRN). In addition, policy and legislation on land use planning, titling, mortgage financing, urban planning, mining, wildlife management, and livestock, to mention but a few, were passed within this period. At the same time the body held responsible forthe implementation of these, saw shifted leadership and restructuring. For example the Ministry of Lands Housing and Human Settlements Development (MLHHSD) went through the hands of three ministers who saw the government’s flagship land formalization program-MKURABITA, revamped the Strategic Program for Implementation of Land Laws (SPILL 2013) and the establishment of a vibrant information system. In collaboration with the government, donors such as DFID, DANIDA and SIDA to mention a few, have made commitments to support land programs in the SAGCOT regions. Due to emerging land and investment issues, there is growing interest on the best way to establish strong partnerships to address land issues between civil society organisations and government on one hand and private sector on the other. For instance, under the Legend Challenge Fund which is a DFID-supported initiative, non-profit organisations are encouraged to join forces with profit organisations (investors) to access funds and implement projects.
At the international and regional level, land has been at the center of policy debates. There have been commendable efforts taken by the International community and the African Union (AU) to address land rights and tenure security issues resulting from threats posed by large-scale land investments. In 2012, the global Committee on Food Security (CFS) under the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) adopted the“Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security”. In 2014, the AU launched the “Guiding Principles on Large Scale Land Based Investments in Africa” which complement the AU Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa.Efforts are in place to promote these voluntary guidelines to be binding laws at the national level.
Based on the efforts underway in terms of policy, institutional, programmatic, and financial commitments, the land sector should be stronger. However, the evidence on the ground shows that the sector is marred with many challenges. For example; small budget allocations, increase land use conflicts, weak land governance institutions, conflicting land and natural resource mandates, lack of coordination and corruption, to mention a few.
This brief argues for land sector to be a priority sector and for a multi-stakeholder systematic review of the land sector to be carried out annually. The brief draws from official public documents of the MLHHS including budget speeches from the last seven years. It does not capture all mandates of the Ministry of Lands, but highlights some of the areas considered fundamental for initiating discussion and agreement for such an annual sector review to take place. The brief provides relevant information for government officials, donor community, researchers and civil society organisations to advocate and support annual systematic review of the land sector.