The need for agricultural extension services for municipal commonage farmers

  • D Atkinson
Keywords: Municipalities, commonage, training, emergent farmers, extension


The paper focuses on the agricultural skills of black and coloured “emergent” farmers using municipal commonage land in South Africa. This paper is based on in-depth interviews with 28 commonage users, undertaken in Philippolis in the Southern Free State. The farmers are typically of modest financial means, and with a limited exposure to agriculture. The paper reflects on their livestock holdings, the amount of money they spend on their agricultural enterprises, and their reasons for farming. The profound need for agricultural guidance and extension services for these farmers is highlighted, because many of these farmers have no background in farming at all. Their current source of knowledge is primarily from their previous white commercial farming employers, and to a lesser extent, from their peers. The Department of Agriculture hardly features as a support institution, which raises far-reaching questions about the adequacy of current agricultural extension systems.

Keywords: Municipalities, commonage, training, emergent farmers, extension services.

South African Journal of Agricultural Extension Vol. 36 (1) 2007: pp. 190-202

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2413-3221
print ISSN: 0301-603X