The need for agricultural extension services for municipal commonage farmers


Atkinson, D (2007), “The need for agricultural extension services for municipal commonage farmers”, Journal of Agricultural Extension, vol. 36.



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.

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