The fluid nature of water grabbing: the on-going contestation of water distribution between peasants and agribusinesses in Nduruma, Tanzania
This article contributes to the contemporary debate on land and water grabbing through a detailed, qualitative case study of horticultural agribusinesses which have settled in Tanzania, disrupting patterns of land and water use. In this paper we analyse how capitalist settler farms and their upstream and downstream peasant neighbours along the Nduruma river, Tanzania, expand and defend their water use. The paper is based on 3 months of qualitative field work in Tanzania. We use the echelons of rights analysis framework combined with the concept of institutional bricolage to show how this contestation takes place over the full spectrum of actual abstractions, governance and discourses. We emphasise the role different (inter)national development narratives play in shaping day-to-day contestations over water shares and rule-making. Ultimately, we emphasise that water grabbing is not a one-time event, but rather an on-going struggle over different water resources. In addition, we show how a perceived beneficial development of agribusinesses switching to groundwater allows them to avoid peasant-controlled institutions, avoiding further negotiation between the different actors and improving their image among neighbouring communities. This development illustrates how complex and obscured processes of water re-allocation can be without becoming illegal per se.
KeywordsWater grabbing Smallholder irrigation Echelons of rights analysis Institutional bricolage Tanzania Foreign direct investment
Arusha Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Authority
Echelons of rights analysis
Foreign direct investment
Milieu Programma Sierteelt
Pangani Basin Water Office
Tanzania Investment Centre
Water User Association
- Adams, W.M., and D.M. Anderson. 1988. Irrigation before development: Indigenous and induced change in agricultural water management in East Africa. African Affairs 87(349): 519–535.Google Scholar
- Baffes, J. 2003. Tanzania’s coffee sector: Constraints and challenges in a global environment. In Africa region working paper series. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
- Boelens, R. 2008. The rules of the game and the game of the rules—Normalization and resistance in Andean water control. Wageningen: Wageningen University.Google Scholar
- Business Daily. 2013. Flower firms under KRA probe over tax payments. Business Daily Africa. http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Flower-firms-under-KRA-probe-over-tax-payments/-/539546/1659960/-/8ht53fz/-/index.html. Accessed 13 July 2015.
- Edelman, M., R. Hall, I. Scoones, B. White, and W. Wolford. 2015. Global land grabbing and political reactions ‘from below’ [special issue]. Journal of Peasant Studies 42(3–4): 467–878.Google Scholar
- Edelman, M., C. Oya, and S. M. Borras Jr. 2013. Global land grabs [special issue]. Third World Quarterly 34(9): 1517–1747.Google Scholar
- Hortibiz. 2014. Tax evasion rampant in African agriculture. Hortibiz Magazine. http://www.hortibiz.com/nc/hortibiz/volgende/17/nieuws/tax-evasion-rampant-in-african-agriculture/. Accessed 13 July 2015.
- Komakech, H. C. 2010. The role of commercial estates in water sharing agreements in the Nduruma sub-catchment. Paper presented at the CTA annual seminar—Closing the knowledge gap: Integrated Water Management for Sustainable Agriculture, Johannesburg, South Africa.Google Scholar
- Komakech, H.C., and P. Van der Zaag. 2011. Understanding the emergence and functioning of river committees in a catchment of the Pangani Basin, Tanzania. Water Alternatives 4: 197–222.Google Scholar
- Komakech, H.C., P. Van der Zaag, and B. Van Koppen. 2012c. The last will be first: Water transfers from agriculture to cities in the Pangani River Basin, Tanzania. Water Alternatives 5: 700–720.Google Scholar
- Lawler, S. 2002. In Narrative in social research, ed. Tim May, 242–258. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Margulis, M. E., N. McKeon, and S. M. Borras Jr. 2013. Land grabbing and global governance [special issue]. Globalizations 10(1): 1–209.Google Scholar
- Mehta, L., G. Veldwisch, and J. Franco. 2012a. Introduction to the special issue: Water grabbing? Focus on the (Re) appropriation of finite water resources. Water Alternatives 5: 193–207.Google Scholar
- Mehta, L., G. Veldwisch, and J. Franco. 2012b. Water grabbing? Focus on the (Re)appropriation of finite water resources [special issue]. Water Alternatives 5(2): 193–468.Google Scholar
- PBWO. 2014. New water use fees. Pangani Basin Water Office. http://www.panganibasin.com/images/uploads/New_Water_Use_Fees.pdf. Accessed 30 Dec 2014.
- Seckler, D.W. 1996. The new era of water resources management: From “dry” to “wet” water savings. Colombo: IWMI.Google Scholar
- Somers, M.R., and G.D. Gibson. 1994. Reclaiming the epistemological Other: Narrative and the social constitution of identity. In Social theory and the politics of identity, ed. C. Calhoun. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Spear, T. 1996. Struggles for land: The political and moral economics of land on Mount Meru. In Custodians of the land: Ecology and history of Tanzania, ed. Gregory Maddox, Isaria N. Kimambo, and James L. Giblon, 213–240. London: James Currey.Google Scholar
- Spear, T. 1997. Mountain farmers: Moral economies of land and agricultural development in Arusha and Meru. Oxford: James Currey.Google Scholar
- Tagseth, M. 2008a. The expansion of traditional irrigation in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. International Journal of African Historical Studies 41(3): 461–490.Google Scholar
- Tagseth, M. 2010. Irrigation among the Chagga in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania: The organisation of mfongo irrigation. In Shared waters, shared opportunities: hydropolitics in East Africa, eds. Calas Bernard, and C. A. Mumma Martinon, 235–259. Dar es Salaam: Mkuki Na Nyota Publishers.Google Scholar
- Taha. 2013. Proposed investment incentives for horticulture. Arusha: Tanzania Horticultural Association.Google Scholar
- Taha. 2014a. Mr. Eric Ng’imaryo, elected new TAHA chairman. TAHA Bulletin 1–5. www.tanzaniahorticulture.com/pdf/January%202014.pdf. Accessed 15 Aug 2015.
- Taha. 2014b. Fighting poverty with snow peas in the shadow of Mount Meru. TAHA Bulletin 1–3. http://tanzaniahorticulture.com/pdf/MIT.pdf. Accessed 8 Aug 2015.
- Taha. 2014c. Transforming lives in Bonga village. http://tanzaniahorticulture.com/index.php/blog/item/transforming-lives-in-bonga-village. Accessed 8 Aug 2015.
- Taha. 2014d. US presidential advisors visit TAHA projects. TAHA Bulletin 1–6. http://taha.or.tz/index.php/publications. Accessed 15 Aug 2015.
- Tax Justice Network. 2013. Karuturi guilty of tax evasion. http://www.grain.org/article/entries/4698-karuturi-guilty-of-tax-evasion. Accessed 13 July 2015.
- Thomson, P. 2011. A Foucaldian approach to discourse analysis. http://patthomson.net/2011/07/10/a-foucauldian-approach-to-discourse-analysis/. Accessed 15 Aug 2015.
- TIC. 2008. Tanzania investment guide, 2008 and beyond. Dar es Salaam: Tanzanian Investment Centre.Google Scholar
- TIC. 2013. Tanzania investment guide 2013–2014. Dar es Salaam: Tanzanian Investment Centre.Google Scholar
- TIC. 2014. About TIC. http://www.tic.co.tz/Team?l=en. Accessed 25 Aug 2014.
- Twaweza. 2014. Lets build one house! What Tanzanians think about the East African Community! http://twaweza.org/uploads/files/Integration-EN-FINAL.pdf. Accessed 23 July 2015.
- URoT. 2001. Agricultural sector development strategy. Dar es Salaam: United Republic of Tanzania.Google Scholar
- URoT. 2013. Labour institutions act—Wage order. Dar es Salaam: United Republic of Tanzania.Google Scholar
- Veldwisch, G. 2015. Contract farming and the reorganisation of agricultural production within the Chókwè irrigation system, Mozambique. Journal of Peasant Studies (forthcoming): 1–26.Google Scholar
- Voget-Kleschin, L., and K. Ott. 2013. Ethical aspects of large-scale land acquisition in developing countries [special issue]. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 26(6): 1059–1240.Google Scholar
- Wolford, W., S. M. Borras Jr., R. Hall, I. Scoones, and B. White. 2013. Governing global land deals: The role of the state in the rush for land [special issue]. Development and Change 44(2): 189–471.Google Scholar
- World Bank. 1996. Staff appraisal report, Tanzania—River basin management and smallholder irrigation improvement project, Report No. 15122-TA. Washington: Agriculture and Environment Operations, Eastern Africa Department, Africa region.Google Scholar
- Zwarteveen, M., D. Roth, and R. Boelens. 2005. Water rights and legal pluralism: Beyond analysis and recognition. In Liquid relations. Contested water rights and legal complexity, eds. Dik Roth, Rutgerd Boelens, and Margreet Zwarteveen, 254–268. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar