THE government and Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) have handed over Land Use Plans books to eight villages in a project aimed at ending human/wildlife conflicts in Western Serengeti ecosystem.
The project is jointly implemented by Serengeti District Council, Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) and FZS with financial support from the German government through KfW Development Bank.
Village government leaders from the eight villages turned up to receive the land use plans complied in books in an event that was presided over by Serengeti District Commissioner (DC), Mr Nurdin Babu on Friday.
“Go and implement the land use plans in your villages effectively and whoever will fail will see the consequences,” Mr Babu directed, while further handing over the plans to the village government chairpersons and Village Executive Officers (VEOs).
Mr Babu also handed over a 20 year land use plan to the District Council Chairman, Mr Juma Porini that would be used for the entire Serengeti District Council at the occasion.
Establishment of land use plans was part of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) manifesto under President John Magufuli’s administration requirement address pertaining issues in district.
In the course, the Serengeti DC commended FZS, TANAPA and Serengeti District Council for establishing the land use plans in the villages. Already 14 out of the 36 targeted villages have been covered by the project, according to the FZS Project Manager at Serengeti Office Mr Masegeri Tumbuya.
“This is indeed a good step in reducing human/wildlife conflicts in Serengeti and the residents in the villages will have an opportunity to have traditional title deeds, “ said Mr Tumbuya, adding that the process to reach the remaining villages is still underway.
On his part, Head of Land and Natural Resources Department at Serengeti District Council Mr Jonas Nestory said the land use books had been okayed by national land use planning commission.
The villages will also be able to allocate grazing and farming areas and portion also other plots for different activities with the help of the land use plans.
“This will help to end conflicts between the citizens and conservationists and the villagers are also going to form livestock keeping groups mandated to further oversee that whatever they plan is not violated,” the official said.
Reached for a comment, local leaders welcomed the land use plans and quickly pledged to implement them.
“These plans have come and would end land disputes and also help us to have good relationship with conservationists,” said Motukeri village government chairman, Mr Maiko Magambo on behalf of his colleagues.
Wildlife/human conflicts remain a major concern among citizens and conservation in Western Serengeti, where the number of wild animals including Lions, Elephants and Leopards are currently reportedly to have increased sharply in the recent years.
The support by the German government through the KfW bank to fund establishment of the land use plans was greeted as a huge relive to the villagers living near the Serengeti ecosystem.