Voices from Tanzania – Small-scale producers’ awareness and involvement in the process of land acquisition for the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline: The case study of Kilindi district in Tanga region

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This publication is part of IPIS’ Voices from Tanzania series and its edition on “The impact of land acquisition practices in the extractive sectors of northern Tanzania”.

In their Voices from Tanzania study HAKIARDHI assesses the level of awareness and involvement of small-scale producers in the land acquisition processes for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) in 2 villages of Kilindi district, Tanga region.

For small-scale producers in Tanzania, especially farmers, pastoralists, and women, land and land-based resources are essential for meeting everyday socio-economic necessities, including housing, food, and income. Changes in access to land can therefore significantly impact small-scale producers. In recent years, land has been acquired from many Tanzanian communities, not in the least to facilitate investment projects of public interest.

The East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) is a major infrastructure project in East Africa to transport crude oil from Uganda’s oil fields to the Indian Ocean coast in Tanzania (Tanga). In Tanzania it will involve a 1,147 km long buried pipeline set to traverse 8 northern regions, including Kilindi district in Tanga region. Land is crucial for the establishment and functionality of the EACOP project. In Kilindi district, 318.98 acres of land were acquired, using Tanzania’s Compulsory Land Acquisition framework, to allow the construction of the pipeline and camps. According to experience, the awareness of the small-scale producers on legal and administrative procedures involved in land acquisition is generally rather limited, while the impact on their lives and livelihoods can be significant. In the study, HakiArdhi therefore evaluates small-scale producers’ knowledge of and participation in the EACOP project’s land acquisition process, based on primary data from scall-scale producers in Mkindi and Lekitinge villages (Kilindi district).

The findings from the study

The study found that the District Council Land Department and other local government agencies tasked with overseeing village land were minimally involved in the EACOP land acquisition process. Instead, private consulting firms controlled the process. This has caused avoidable gaps in communities’ and village leaders’awareness of EACOP, has created missed opportunities for community engagement and overall limited local participation and ownership of the process.

There is a great deal of misunderstanding and confusion among affected persons regarding the compensation system and the land relocation process. Various trainings were offered to small-scale producers, but none focused on understanding the land acquisition process. Due to a lack of awareness, no collective reactions from small-scale producers regarding the land acquisition process were made.

Overall, affected persons questioned the sustainability of the benefits they were receiving for the acquired land and whether it will be possible to continue their livelihood activities. In addition, pastoralists were dissatisfied with the lack of compensation for items of traditional-cultural value (such as native trees), and the insufficient consideration for the protection of other pastoralist resources such as communal grazing lands.

With local leaders not always able to bring clarity, some respondents reached out to EACOP through their grievance handling system. Accessing this system, however, appeared difficult for most respondents, who felt that, overall, they were not allowed to question or criticize the land acquisition process.

In conclusion, the study found that there was insufficient engagement and consultation of small-scale producers in affected villages. This was facilitated by the lack of proper engagement by the EACOP team, but also due to the limited capacities of village authorities to stand up for the rights of their villagers.

The recommendations

Native tree, known as ngiloriti, used as a medication to aid with human digestion and as food for goats and cattle ©HakiArdhi.

HakiArdhi is a Tanzanian non-profit organization that was established in 1994 with the main objective of advancing, promoting, and researching the land rights of small-scale producers such as peasants, pastoralists, hunter-gatherers, fisher-folk, artisanal miners, and related disadvantageos groups to provide information and knowledge, facilitae equitable and socially just access to and control over land for the production of food, and realization of other basic needs.

This publication has been produced with the financial assistance of the Belgian Directorate- General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD). The contents of this document can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the Belgian Development Cooperation.

The publication does not represent IPIS’ research or views. It is based on the surveys and analyses conducted by Tanzanian civil society organisations and solely belongs to them.