IN THE NEWS: Land use plan vital in solving disputes

By Gerald Kitabu

Pawaga division authorities in Iringa District have urged the government to conduct land use plan in all the villages to avoid land conflicts between farmers and pastoralists. 

They also challenged the government to allocate pastoralists to areas with adequate grazing pastures and build water infrastructures in a bid to avoid unnecessary land disputes.
Speaking at the community workshop on the state of land based investment and resource conflicts, Mlenge Ward Councilor, Rashid Matimbwa said that many areas designed for pastoralists in different villages have no pastures and water infrastructures.
The programme which titled ‘Ardhi Yetu’ is funded by CARE international, coordinated by CARE Tanzania and implemented by Tanzania Natural Resource Forum (TNRF).
Matimbwa explained that the lack of land use plan has accelerated land conflicts as pastoralists are forced to graze their cattle in low land areas where farming activities takes place.
For his part, Itunundu ward councilor, Halfani Lulimi said Ikolongo, Kipanga, Ileuzi were set aside as grazing areas but because they are lacking green pastures, pastoralists have abandoned them, taking their cattle to farming lands.
“This has fueled more conflicts between farmers and pastoralists every year,” he said.
Chairman of Mbuyuni village, Gervas Mwilinge said his village has 770 acres but only 50 of them are planned.
In his comments, Programme Coordinator for Land based investments for Tanzania Natural Resource Forum (TNRF), Godfrey Massay advised the villagers and their leaders to respect laws governing land usage and investments to avoid conflicts.
Massay who is also a lawyer and a researcher said experience shows that some conflicts are caused by lack of commitment by village leaders who do not play their role accordingly. 
“This workshop is aimed at assessing the capacity of land administration institutions and provide land rights and governance issues due to several gaps revealed by the recent research by TNRF in Pawaga,” he said.
We also intend to link the role of different actors with the view to improve governance and accountability in land and administration such as civil society organisations, local communities and decision makers,” he added.
Earlier, opening the training on behalf of Iringa District Commissioner, Pawaga division officer, Nasson Mwaulesi warned the village leaders against selling their land, saying doing so would open door for abject poverty.