argylesock says… Land grabs are a big issue in the African drylands. Often it’s for agriculture – irrigating land to grow crops – and sometimes it’s for wildlife conservation. Do either of these benefit poor people?
Serengeti tree (photo credit: Jeff Haskins).
‘In the great plains of northern Tanzania, close to the world-famous Serengeti National Park, a bitter row has broken out over an attempt to designate 1,500sqkm of Loliondo District as a game-controlled area.
‘The Maasai herdsmen in the area say their cattle cannot survive without access to traditional dry-season grazing in the area. The government says the land is needed as a wildlife corridor between the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Besides, the Minister for Natural Resources told the press, 2,500sqkm had already been, as he put it, “released to the local population”; the rest would be used for conservation purposes for the benefit of the nation.
‘Typical of recent land-grab controversies, this row involves the use of rangelands rather than farmlands. While farmers can show quite clearly that their lands are being used, semi-arid grasslands in areas like Loliondo cannot support animals…
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