Reducing impact of land degradation in Tanzania: Do incentive market based mechanisms work for sustainable land management?
Journal of Sustainable Development
Institute of Human Settlements Studies, Ardhi University, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Governments have traditionally relied on public budgets, bilateral and multilateral cooperation to support sustainable land management (SLM) activities. However, it is becoming evident that such support will not be sufficient neither can be sustainable to reverse land degradation, particularly in dry and degrading lands. Innovative mechanisms to encourage investments in SLM practices and to promote and enable the adoption of good practices in all land use sectors as a means to combat land degradation and address this challenge are needed. The paper addresses the hypothesis that, in Tanzania, impacts of land degradation can be reduced through the application of incentive market based mechanisms that could be implemented by the land users to ensure dual benefits i.e. environmental sustainability and improved human welfare of the land users. Key informants interviews and the desk reviews were the main methodological fronts used in gathering information. In Tanzania the practiced incentive market based mechanisms can be grouped into public payment systems, Open Trading under Regulation, Self Organized Private Deals, and Eco-Labeling of Products and Services. Components of these mechanisms have been tested in various agro-ecological zones in Tanzania and proved to be useful in the process of enhancing sustainable land management at the micro level. Observations therefore suggest that, some incentive market based mechanisms can work to reducing impact of land degradation at the micro level especially when they are related to improved purchasing power of the land users. In order to reduce the dependence of the governments and reduce donor syndrome in enhancing sustainable land management in Tanzania and elsewhere, there is a need of encouraging the use of incentive market based mechanisms that will have contributions to the welfare of the land users as well as contribution to the reduced land degradation. © 2014 by the author(s).