24/02
2010

Land Use Planning Act, No. 6 of 2007

Most of Land and Environmental problems of the agriculture and livestock sectors could be minimised if different land uses are planned. For example, cultivation near a factory in an urban area may lead to contamination of the soil and the agricultural produce.
Improper cultivation on a hillside, river bank or cultivation in an environmentally sensitive area, such as a wetland, may also result in degradation of the environment and/or adversely impact human health.1

Government has attempted to regulate and organise which land areas are used for which purpose by enacting the National Land Use Planning Commission Act and the Town and Country Planning Ordinance. Basically, these two laws require land uses to be organized in a planned fashion, with certain approvals required by the government. They divide land planning into two categories: Regional land planning areas and land planning for certain specific areas, such as towns and urban areas. Their functions are as follows.

The National Land Use Planning Commission Act creates the National Land Use Planning Commission (NLUPC) whose most significant functions are to prepare regional physical land use plans, formulate land use policies for implementation by the government and to specify standards, norms and criteria for protection of beneficial uses and maintenance of the quality of land. As an advisory organ, the NLUPC is also to recommend measures to ensure that government policies, including those for the development and conservation of land, take adequate account of their effects on land use (§4(d)), stimulate public and private participation in programmes and activities related to land use planning for the national beneficial use of land (§4(e)) and seek advancement of scientific knowledge of changes in land use and encourage the development of technology to prevent or minimize adverse effects that endanger man's health or welfare. Section 2 of the Act defines a "beneficial use" as "a use of land that is conducive to public benefit, welfare, safety or health."

Todate, no additional land use standards have been made pursuant to the Act. Any business operating in a rural area will be expected to follow the conditions of the regional physical land use plan for the particular region. Zonal physical development plans include the Uhuru Corridor (1975-1978) Plan covering Coast, Morogoro, Iringa and Mbeya regions, Lake Zone (1978-82) Plan covering Mwanza, Mara, Kagera and Shinyanga regions and the Northern Zone (1992) covering Tanga, Kilimanjaro and Arusha regions. District plans prepared so far are those for Kiteto, Urambo, Masasi, Babati and Kondoa.

The Town and Country Planning Ordinance is particularly relevant for agricultural and livestock activities in urban and town areas. The requirements of the Ordinance are discussed extensively in section 4.4, but are also important for agricultural and livestock businesses. For example, the Minister responsible for Lands is given the authority to make provision for agricultural uses within land use planning schemes. Therefore, an agricultural user must determine whether the area intended for use is within a declared "Planning Area" and whether the use is permitted under the zoning requirements and the specific use classifications. In actual fact, most of the planning areas (except beaches and lake shores) are urban, so this requirement will apply for certain urban agricultural and livestock activities. However, in cases where municipal boundaries incorporate agricultural land, it will be important to explore the regulatory requirements and also to determine whether the desired use is in fact exempt from the planning consent requirement.