Formalising land rights to dispossess Tanzanian herders & farmers
Formalisation of land rights is proving to be a mechanism to justify dispossession of pastoralists’ and small-scale farmers’ land to support the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT). So argues the article “Dispossession through formalization: Tanzania and the G8 land agenda in Africa” published in the Asian Journal of African Studies (2016, Vol. 40: 3-49). The G8 and other donors have been promoting formalisation ostensibly to improve transparency, to secure land rights for local people against land grabbing and to reduce conflict. Yet, at the same time, it is sponsoring a huge land-grabbing programme in Tanzania – SAGCOT – involving several agro-industrial multinationals. Conflicts are increasing in the area demarcated for SAGCOT, where large-scale evictions of pastoralists and farmers support a longstanding government objective to end traditional modes of livestock keeping. Despite the failures of USAID-funded cattle ranches in the 1970s, the Tanzanian Government again seeks to promote “modern” ranches with SAGCOT investment. This is exacerbating farmer–pastoralist tensions and violating human rights of local communities. The article maps out the terrain of contestation, conflicts and dispossession at the core of the political economy of land rights formalisation in rural Tanzania.