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Karatu District is one of the seven Councils in Arusha Region. It became an administrative council in 1997. The Council was officially registered in 2000 after general election. The District headquarter is located at Karatu town which is 150 km from Arusha city. The road from Arusha via Karatu to Mwanza and Musoma passes through the town which makes Karatu town active business centre.
The district is located South of the Equator between Latitudes 3º10'4º00'Sand Longitudes 34º47'E-35º56'E. The district is bordered by Mbulu District to the South, Iramba and Meatu Districts to the North West, Ngorongoro to the North and Monduli District and Babati District to the South East.
1.2. Land area
The District is estimated to have an area of approximately 3,300 square kilometers, with Lake Eyasi occupying about 10.6 square kilometers.
1.3 Administrative Structure
Karatu District is divided into four divisions (Mbulumbulu, Eyasi, Karatu and Endabash) with 14 wards, 58 registered villages. 5 Villages are allocated within the Karatu Town Authority
The mandate, roles and functions of the KDC
Karatu District Council was established with effect from the 2000 vide a certificate of establishment under the terms of the provisions of sections 8 sub-section (7) of the Local Government Act, 1982. The KDC functions as provided by the Local Government Act No. 8 of 1982 are:
i.To maintain and facilitate the maintenance of peace, order and good government within its area of jurisdiction
ii.To promote the social welfare and economic well-being for all persons within its area of jurisdiction
iii.Subject to the national policy and plans for rural and urban development; to further the social and economic development of its area of jurisdiction
iv.To take necessary measures to protect and enhance the environment in order to promote sustainable development
v.To give effect to the meaningful decentralization in political, financial and administrative matters relating to the functions, powers, Development Plan (FYDP) possibilities and services of all levels of local government authorities
vi.To promote and ensure democratic participation in and control of decision making by people concerned; and
vii.To establish and maintain reliable sources of revenue and other resources enabling local government authorities to perform other functions effectively and to enhance financial accountability of local government authorities, their members and employees.
Karatu District is divided into four divisions (Mbulumbulu, Eyasi, Karatu and Endabash) , 14 wards and 58 registered villages. The Council is currently having a population of 256,838 of which 131,417 being males and 125,422 females and 48,345 households as per 2012 Census. The District birth rate stands at 3.1%. The average population density is 73.4 persons/km2 with low densities in the western zone along Lake Eyasi (7-10 person/km2) and higher densities (100 persons/km2) in Karatu and Mbulumbulu Division. The District is mostly populated by “Iraqw tribe” being the dominant, Barbaigs being the minor tribe who are pastoralists and Hadzabe who are hunters and gatherers. It is believed that in the long run, Karatu Township will be the second largest tourist town after Arusha city on the Northern circuit.
The climate varies from one area to another in the district. In Eyasi basin the annual rainfall received is between 300mm/ and 400mm/per annum while in Karatu town it ranges between 900mm/ and 1000mm/ per year. In April the rain intensity can be very high enough to cause great erosion. In most places short and long rain are separated by one or two months of slightly less rainfall. The District experiences four seasons which are short rainy-extended from November to December, short and hot dry period from January to March and mid May while the long and cold seasons occurs from June to October
1.6. Agro – ecological zones
Karatu District is divided into three agro-ecological zones namely Highland bordering Ngorongoro, Midland bordering Marang forest and Low lands bordering Lake Eyasi Basin.
It covers Lositete, Upper Kitete, Slahhamo, Kambi ya Simba, Kilimatembo, Rhotia Kati, Kainam Rhotia, Ayalabe, Tloma, Oldeani, Getamock, Buger, Ayalalio, Endonyawe and Makhoromba. Highland zone lies between 1400–2000m above sea level with rainfall range between 600 – 800mm per anuum. It has a clay loam type of soil which allows wheat, barley, coffee; cut flowers, Artemisia, maize, beans and chick peas to grow well.
This zone lies at Chemchem, Kilimamoja, Gyekrum Lambo, Gyekrum Arusha, Gongali, Bashay Qurus, Endashangwet, Changarawe, Bassodawish, Endamarariek, Khusmayi, Endallah, Qaru, Endabash, Kambi ya Faru, Laja and Ngaibara.The zone has an altitude of between 900 – 1400m above sea level, with rainfall of more than 600mm per annum. It has a clay loam sand soil which suits crops like maize, beans, pigeon peas, finger millet, sunflower, sorghum, safflower, and cassava and dolicus lablab to grow well.