Whose land is it anyway?


Pastoralists are semi-nomadic livestock herders who move with the seasons in search of fresh pasture and water. Their ancestral lands lie in the north of Tanzania. The government of Tanzania, however, does not recognise pastoralism as a viable livelihood. Therefore, pastoralists are left out of decision-making processes and there has been chronic underinvestment in their communities. Services such as health and education are not adequately provided for, nor adapted to a semi-nomadic way of life. Development has focused on a push towards settling communities and the denial of customary land rights. This has meant that families have no longer been able to move with their herds as they have done in the past, while overgrazing on the land they do have has meant that milk production has reduced. Land has been appropriated for agriculture, government use and for conservation and tourism. Conservation is the most common cause of land loss in Tanzania. The squeeze on land and a rising population have resulted in more people reliant on less livestock while other income earning opportunities are limited and in some cases, such as in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, denied them.