A Better World - Volume 4

[ ] 71 L ife on L and The HASHI programme In 1986, the Tanzanian government devised a programme called the Shinyanga Soil Conservation initiative (HASHI), that relied on the traditional local practice of Ngitili. The Shinyanga region is home to Wasukuma people and covers approximately 5.4 per cent of the total land area of Tanzania at its pre-2005 extent but hosts over 80 per cent of the country’s livestock. Between 1980 and 2003 the region’s population doubled, reaching approximately 2.8 million. 7 The Wasukuma are agropastoral communities dependent on mixed livestock rearing and, predominantly, sedentary agriculture. The area is semi-arid, and the vegetation type is mostly acacia and miombo woodlands. 8 The Shinyanga region has undergone a number of processes in terms of the land use characteristics and associated prac- tices. The period before the 1930s, referred to as the reference state, was when the landscapes in the region were considered sustainably managed, before becoming intensely degraded during the period between the 1930s and 1980s due to a number of drivers indicated in the degradation phase. The degradation created huge social and ecological problems requiring resto- ration measures. As such, the restoration effort through the HASHI programme received considerable political support, at national level in particular, with the government making a number of policy provisions such as revisions of land tenure policies and mobilization of financial resources to support the restoration effort. 9 Although the programme officially closed in 2004, the project activities continued to be carried out by the Natural Forest Resources and Agroforestry Management Centre (NAFRAC) as well as community members. Land Degradation Neutrality in Ngitili LDN is a flexible target with actions that can be implemented at local, regional or national scales. It recognizes the sover- eignty of nations to manage trade-offs and to capitalize on the synergies between biological and economic productiv- ity. It aims to maintain and increase the amount of healthy and productive land resources in line with national devel- opment priorities. In the case of the communal Ngitili, there are specific rules and regulations put in place by local leaders and the village government to ensure that it is only those who engage in the specific management activities that benefit from it. This Ngitili system is managed by groups of communities, and therefore includes a number of strong, self-organizing activities. For those not involved in the resto- ration process, there is an option of paying for the services or products collected from the Ngitili. However, as expressed by the village environmental committees, there are cases of illegal use, although the majority of the community respects the local norms and values. The village environmental committee and local leaders determine the level of harvest for different users, and the village government (Dagashida) and community polic- ing (Sungusungu) make sure that this decision is properly implemented on the ground. The communities have rules and regulations on how much of the products are to be harvested, by whom and under what circumstances. This is a strong indicator to avoid overharvesting which later affects the sustainability of the system. 10 The programme ensures fair and equitable sharing of the benefits among group members engaged in managing parcels of land, as such adhering to the principles of LDN. Often the benefits go to public infra- structure such as schools and roads, and whenever there is remaining cash, it is shared among the members. The importance of traditional institutions is underestimated in natural resource management. The institutional responsi- bilities of the management of Ngitilis are as important as the technical aspects. There may be a wide range of institutions concerned with issues such as access, control and responsi- bilities within a community, as evidenced by the role of the Sungusungu in Ngitili conservation. To the outsider they may not be obvious, and their role may be underrated with respect to traditional natural resource management, 11 but these insti- tutions have been used as the basis for Ngitili restoration, Representation of elements characterizing the gradual changes in the Shinyanga region, Tanzania The reference state Sustainable agropastoral livelihood system Tsetse fly eradication (clearing of woodlands) Cash crops expansion Overstocking Increasing wood demand Deforestation for villagization Insecure tenure rights Ngitili (fodder bank system) Ngitili On-farm tree conservation Improved fallows Rotational woodlots Community empowerment Long-term investment from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) 1930 1986 Indigenous miombo and acacia woodlands The degradation phase The restoration phase Source: Duguma et al 2015