Municipal commonage in South Africa: a critique of artificial dichotomies in policy debates on agriculture

  • Doreen Atkinson


The paper critiques Vetter’s (in this issue) assertion that commercialisation of smallholder agriculture holds dangers for sustainable rangeland management. The paper argues that a range of policy options are required, including commercialisation and subsistence farming, large-scale and smallholder farming, a range of land tenure options, rural and peri-urban farming, and part-time farming. The case of municipal commonage land is useful to show the effectiveness of a flexible range of policy options regarding land ownership, farming scale and the social nature of farming. However, the key requirement, in all cases, is effective institutional development.

Keywords: commonage, institutions, municipalities, peri-urban, policy, smallholders

African Journal of Range & Forage Science 2013, 30(1&2): 29–34

Author Biography

Doreen Atkinson
Centre for Development Support, University of the Free State, PO Box 339, Bloemfontein 9970, South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9380
print ISSN: 1022-0119