Three types of land tenure systems coexist in Rufiji and Bagamoyo. First, the intact mangrove forest areas are held by the government as forest reserves and managed by the Forestry and Bee-keeping Division of the MNRT. The “islands” of Rufiji Delta are also legally governed as forest reserves, despite the fact that some areas are in rice fields rather than mangroves.
The second type is customary land tenure in which the clan has use rights over certain pieces of land and apportions them to clan members. About 40 percent of the farmers in Bagamoyo and 25 percent of the farmers in Rufiji obtained land through inheritance. Families allocated land to another 20 percent of farmers in Rufiji and 10 percent of farmers in Bagamoyo. Commercialization of land is not practiced widely. Only about 8 percent of the farmers in Bagamoyo and 2.5 percent of farmers in Rufiji have purchased land.
The third type is village land. This land can be apportioned to individuals by the village government upon request. Thirty-five percent of the farmers in Rufiji and 25 percent of the farmers in Bagamoyo have obtained land in this way. The major issue regarding land in Rufiji and Bagamoyo is not ownership, but rather accessibility and quality of the land. Farmers in Bagamoyo are concerned about the poor fertility of their lands. As regards mangrove areas, the main concern of the Rufiji Delta people is that these areas are not accessible to them for paddy cultivation, at least not legally.