Municipal commonage in South Africa


Atkinson D (2013), Municipal commonage in South Africa: A critique of artificial dichotomies in policy debates on agriculture, African Journal of Range & Forage Science, Volume 30, Issue 1-2, 2013,




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.

Can be accessed at:

or contact the author at