Halima Weli, Palaka, with her grandsons Adam Rashidi and Riziki Mwalimu and grandaughter Sabrna Mwalimu.

Halima Weli, resident of Palaka, with her grandsons Adam Rashidi and Riziki Mwalimu and grandaughter Sabrna Mwalimu. Weli has lost land to the Sun Biofuels Kisarawe plantation.
British company Sun Biofuels has acquired 8,000 hectares of land in the Kisarawe region of Tanzania on which to grow the oil-seed Jatropha. About 2,000 hectares of this land has already been cultivated. The oil from these Jatropha plants will be refined to produce biodiesel on which vehicles can run. The Jatropha oil will be exported for refining and eventual sale, likely in Europe.
Residents of the eleven villages surrounding the plantation in Kisarawe are very unhappy and angry at the way Sun Biofuels has treated them. There are several areas of complaint among affected people. Land has been grabbed with little or no compensation resulting in a loss of livelihood from both farming and the collection of wood which can be processed into charcoal for sale in the local market. Workers at the plantation complain of a failure by Sun Biofuels to properly protect them from the spraying of hazardous pesticides. Denied their land, residents have lost access to water sources as well as the grave-sites of ancestors. Public amenities including schools, dispensaries and wells, promised by Sun Biofules as part of a compensation package for local residents, have not materialized.
Furthermore, the cultivation of biodiesel requires resources (land, labour, transport etc.) that would otherwise be utilized for the growth of food-crops. The resulting increase in the price of food is felt most keenly by the poorest in society, including the largely subsistence communities of Kisarawe.
Photo: Tom Pietrasik.Palaka, Tanzania.July 5th 2011