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Motion for a resolution - B8-0267/2015Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Tanzania, notably the issue of land grabbing

10.3.2015 - (2015/2604(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure

Ignazio Corrao, Piernicola Pedicini, Dario Tamburrano, Eleonora Evi, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Marco Valli, Rolandas Paksas, Valentinas Mazuronis on behalf of the EFDD Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0242/2015

Procedure : 2015/2604(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
Texts tabled :
Texts adopted :


European Parliament resolution on Tanzania, notably the issue of land grabbing


The European Parliament,

- Having regard to the European Parliament resolution of 27 September 2011 on an EU policy framework to assist developing countries in addressing food security challenges (2010/2100(INI))


- Having regard to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly Resolution on the social and economic consequences of malnutrition in ACP countries (ACP-EU/101.717/14/fin), adopted during the 28th Session (1-3 December 2014);


- Having regard to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly Resolution on price volatility, the functioning of global markets for agricultural products and their impact on food security in ACP countries (ACP-UE/101.149/fin), adopted during the 23th Session (26-30 May 2012)


- Having regard to the National Indicative Plan 2014-2020 for United Republic of Tanzania and to its focal sector 3: Sustainable agriculture


- having regard to the 2015 study of the European Parliament "Addressing the Human Rights Impacts Of ‘Land Grabbing’" that reports inter alia been numerous reports of land dispossession and evictions associated with ‘land grabbing’ in Tanzania.


- Having regard to the EEAS document "EU Engagement with HRDs" in Tanzania,


- Having regard to the petition by the Maasai community of Ngorongoro District and signed on line on the AVAAZ platform by more than 2 million people worldwide;


- Having regard to the World Bank document "Action plan: improving the management of safeguards and resettlement practices and outcomes where the World Bank Announces an Action Plan to fix problems of shortcomings in Resettlement Projects


- Having regard to the African Union Guiding principles on large-scale land-based investments in Africa;


- Having regard to the African Union Commission Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy;


- Having regard to the 2013 Draft Report for Overseas Development Institute concerning The Status of Biofuels Projects in Tanzania;


- having regard to the revised Cotonou Agreement;


- having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;


- having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;


- having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure;




A. Whereas already in 2006, 11 villages in Tanzania’s Kisarawe District lost land to a UK company, Sun Biofuels that planned to plant jatropha for the European biofuel export market but five years later, abandoned the 8000 hectares, having never fully compensated local villagers undermining the communities’ access to water, ancestral burial grounds, food security, and forest products;


B. Whereas biofuels investments announced in Tanzania since 2007 and 2008 led to the introduction of a variety of feedstocks for biofuels production so that by March 2009, the total land used for biofuels investment in the country reached over 4 million hectares;


C. Whereas by the end of 2012, HAKIARDHI, a civil society organisation in Tanzania, reported that about 80,372.86 ha of land had been formally released to investors, and that investors had requested a total land of up to 313,220.5 ha including 80,372.86 ha already leased out; whereas this organisation also denounced that the land deals in Tanzania remain a top secret between investors and government officials;


D.  whereas according to recent international press news the government of Tanzania is contemplating selling to a private company in Dubai a large tract of protected land near the famed Serengeti national Park with the sad prospective of turning this zone for commercial hunting and luxury safaris; whereas this sale would evict 40,000 pastoralist Maasai from their ancestral lands forcing tribesmen to abandon ancestral pastures and grave sites;


E.  whereas the EEAS - reports that both the EHAHRDP (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project fact finding report and the EU-HRDs meeting in May 2010 identified corruption, land-rights and natural resources as issues where denouncing irregularities attracts pressure, coercion and even violence.


F.  whereas the Tanzania 'Legal and Human Rights Centre' Annual Report 2013 observed the increase of human rights violation including evictions of Maasai pastoralists from their lands and abuses to the people of Hanang’ whose land were acquired by the Government and turned into big wheat farms.


G.  Whereas the environmental impact of biofuel plantations could involve water scarcity and deforestation, particularly in coastal areas. The potential impact of biofuel production on the price of food crops in Tanzania is already a major concern. Most important for local communities, however, is a loss of rights over customary lands, and the way this could negatively impact local villagers’ livelihoods.


H.  whereas it is important to recognise that Western companies have played a central role in land acquisition, particularly in biofuels investments, and particularly in Africa, including Tanzania where for example Jatropha projects have been initiated by Dutch companies;


I.  whereas increased acquisition of land, mainly by foreign investors, has made ACP countries precarious agricultural and food systems even more vulnerable;


J.  Whereas European involvement in ‘land grabbing’ can also take forms other than direct land acquisition. for example through bank financing of certain specific deals aimed at large-scale land acquisition in third States countries;


K.  Whereas The New Alliance (a joint initiative between the private sector and G8 and African governments) supports the Tanzanian Government’s Big Results Now initiative that has plans for 25 large-scale farms, of which would grow sugar for export and potentially biofuels production. Whereas the land for the first of these initiative farms seems to be still occupied and there are rumours that the company has plans to implement involuntary resettlement of local farmers displacing families;


L.  whereas agriculture outputs have increasingly been used for biofuels, thus subtracting natural resources and food to local population and also contributing to the volatility of oil markets, of commodity markets, to food price rises and to food insecurity especially in African countries; and whereas once-promised environmental benefits of biofuels seem to be more and more limited in their ability to achieve targets for oil-product substitution, climate change mitigation, and economic growth;



1. expresses deep concern regarding the mass evictions of 40 thousands Maasai tribesmen from their ancestral lands apparently aimed at setting up a thematic park for the benefit of rich tourists;


2. Calls on the Tanzanian authorities to acknowledge the legitimacy of indigenous land rights to live in their own land listening carefully to the worries of the Maasai community of Ngorongoro District. They shared through their concerns through an online platform of citizens and their petition is now signed by more than 2 million people worldwide, denouncing the Tanzanian "plans to kick thousands of families off land so that wealthy tourists can use them to shoot lions and leopards".


3. calls on the Tanzanian government to review its land policies identifying and designating certain areas as agricultural areas, taking due account of the issues linked to land utilisation and management, but also taking into due respect the rights of local populations, also in order to meet national food needs of its populations


4. invites the Tanzanian government to pay attention to the status of land administration systems, including land rights delivery systems and land governance structures and institutions, and to ensure adequate budgetary provision to land policy development and implementation


5. invites the Tanzanian Government to remove age-old rigidities in traditional structures and systems which tend to discriminate against women while at the same time building on and thereby improving indigenous tenure arrangements.



6. calls on the EU to encourage the Tanzanian governments to commit to land reform in order to secure the land titles of indigenous farmers and small and medium-sized farmers, especially women, and to prevent ‘land-grabbing’ practices by corporations;


7. Calls the EU member states to abandon once for ever colonial legacies which tend to neglect indigenous land rights systems ignoring community land administration structures; calls them to promote instead innovative policies including rules for the documentation and codification of informal land rights regimes.


8. Calls the EU countries member of G8 to clarify goals and expectations of the New Alliance;


9. calls on the European Commission to update its land policy guidelines with regard to ‘land-grabbing’ and to come forward with measures to improve reporting and monitoring on large-scale land acquisitions involving European investors;


10. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Government of Tanzania, the Governments of G8 countries, the African Union and the African Union Commission, the African National Development Bank, the EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly.