By Charlie Hamilton in Bagamoyo
The government’s partnership with Swedish company EcoEnergy was touted as a flagship for foreign investment. NGOs say it is a land grab. Caught in the middle for the past four years are the farmers due compensation.
Sitting in the shade of the late afternoon sun, Jumani Noobi absentmindedly presses the tip of his hoe into the sun-baked earth.
With the dry season drawing to an end, it has been months since the father of nine has been able to work his maize and rice farm in Gama Makani, a tiny village in the Razaba District, about 45km west of the seaside town of Bagamoyo.
Noobi is one of some 1,300 residents caught in the middle of a contentious plan by Agro EcoEnergy, a subsidiary of Swedish agribusiness firm Eco- Energy, to move him off the land he and his family has worked for the past 18 years to make way for
a $620m sugarcane plantation.
“I will be happy if they just give me some money so I can join my family in Kigoma. I am just tired of waiting. I worry they change their mind,” says the 62 year old, looking out over the arid scrubland.