Tanzania Restricts Land Investments to Prevent Displacement of Africa's Indigenous
As of January 2013, Tanzania will restrict the size of land that investors can lease for agricultural use, reported the Inter Press Service. The restrictions vary based on what commodity is grown on the land; for example, the limit for rice is 5,000 hectares (12,355 acres) and the limit for sugar is 10,000 hectares (24,710 acres).
The decision comes in response to increasing international criticisms that large-scale land acquisitions are physically and economically displacing small farmers and Indigenous communities in Africa. The Land Rights Research and Resources Institute estimates that out of 1,825 general land disputes in Tanzania in 2011, 1,095 involved large-scale investors. In November 2012, representatives from 22 countries approved the Yaoundé Declaration at the first African Land Forum, which recommended protection and recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ land claims (including communal lands), and the obtainment of free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) from Indigenous Peoples in large-scale land investment decisions. Tanzania’s new law is a step towards recognition of these recommendations, but does not guarantee Indigenous Peoples' land rights. The law contains no mentioning of awarding land tenure to Indigenous communities, and the restrictions imposed are far larger than their territories may be.