Arusha. A 3,000 acre farm that has reportedly remained fallow for the past 30 years is at the centre of a bitter conflict between an investor, who leased it and livestock herders in Monduli district, Arusha region.
Livestock herders in the area want to repossess it but the minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development William Lukuvi has ordered the land officers to provide him with relevant information on its ownership status.
This followed the minister's visit to the farm at Naalaram ward in Monduli district on Monday during which he was informed about the tussle between the villagers and Tanfoam company which leased it years ago.
According to the villagers, the 3,305.5 acre land has been lying idle for the past 30 years without any meaningful development by the Arusha-based Tanfoam company which had intended to turn it into a commercial farm.
Baraka Lemali, the chairman of Lengirati village which is within the expansive ward, claimed that they were short of grazing land for their large livestock herds and appealed to the ministry to allow them to graze their animals there.
He added that the inhabitants of the area were having trouble with the idle land because of intimidation by the farm's security guards once their cattle strayed there. "In most cases, our cattle are confiscated or killed".
His remarks were echoed by Mepukar Oyaya, the chairman of neighbouring Naalarami village who faulted the local government officials for allowing the land to remain idle for all the years without being put to economic use.
Speaking to the vilagers during the brief visit, the minister gave the land officers three weeks to provide him with concrete information on the status of the 'farm' and suggestions on how it can be put to productive use.
Efforts to reach out officials of Tanfoam to give their side on the saga were futile.