Search is on for grazing areas

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is urgently looking for additional land to develop commonages so emerging farmers will be able to let their animals graze without invading private property.

Mayoral committee member for tourism and economic development Andrew Whitfield said while there were no commonages in Port Elizabeth, the municipality had developed a commonage land development plan.

Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said there were 20 farming commonages on the outskirts of Uitenhage.

Whitfield said the municipal economic development, tourism and agriculture directorate had spoken to relevant role players to look at the possibilities of acquiring pieces of land that might be available, but budget and land availability were problems.

“The commonage land needs to be developed by putting in infrastructure [fencing, water facilities, handling facilities, irrigation system] and cannot be utilised by the farmers in its current state. These commonages can accommodate only 948 cattle,” Whitfield said.

Kwazakhele cattle farmer Ndiphiwe Thebeka, 58, said he had been herding about 230 cattle along the R367 for a decade, and had lost several to collisions with motorists, with the latest accident occurring about two weeks ago.

“We don’t want to be farming next to the road or in the towns because it puts our animals and livelihood at risk. We need communal grazing grounds in Port Elizabeth,” Thebeka said.

“I have been informed of these commonage sites, but they are all in Uitenhage.

“How does the municipality expect me to walk 20km to a commonage area just to walk back home with my cows at night?”

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