Biofuels Investment and Community Land Tenure in Tanzania

Future Agricultures Working Paper 73
Emmanuel Sulle and Fred Nelson
December 2013

Like much of sub-Saharan Africa, Tanzania has experienced a surge in land-based investment during the past decade. While expanding private investment in agriculture is a core ambition of the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, experiences of prior investments raise questions about possible negative impacts. A notable element of this pattern of international private investment in Tanzania has been the emergence of biofuels as a form of agriculture; biofuel investments occurred rapidly and on a large scale around 2005–2008, with about four million hectares around the country requested for allocation to commercial biofuel projects. Many of those investments were large-scale projects based on the cultivation of jatropha or sugarcane, headed by European companies. One of the most well-known biofuel investments was that of Bioshape, which acquired approximately 34,000 ha in Kilwa District for the cultivation of jatropha.

The report documents, insofar as is possible using available information, the process Bioshape and government authorities at national and district level undertook to acquire the land from the four villages in Kilwa where Bioshape established operations.


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