A Farmer Field Trip! LAND Project takes farmers to visit holistic grazing site

Since 2012, the LAND project has been working closely with smallholder farmers in Manzimdaka.  There have been many conversations about rotational grazing, and the community expressed genuine interest in learning more.  Likewise, the people of Manzimdaka recognized that their pasture lands are in rough shape, with lots of erosion, black wattle invasion, poor grass quality, and disease pressure. They saw that most of the rainfall runs off rather than infiltrates, and they recognized that their soil fertility is really low. They know that their livestock don’t have the condition they could have. And many of them understand, at least intellectually, how rotational grazing can help will all of this.

But there was a need to conceptualize the reality of managed grazing, and not just hear about it from people from far away.  Most especially, the farmers needed to talk with other smallholders like themselves about how this might work socially on commons land.  What challenges must be overcome?  How do other communities make collective decisions about rotating animals throughout the seasons?  What outcomes (economic, environmental, social) have other communities experienced?

51 -- Ayanda discussing holistic management

Host farmers in Mceula share knowledge about holistic managed grazing with visitors from Manzimdaka

With support from the University of Fort Hare and the Olive Leaf Foundation, the LAND Project coordinated a two day field trip in March 2018 to take farmers from Manzimdaka to a community in Mceula (Eastern Cape) where a successful, managed grazing project (using holistic management) has been underway for several years.
The field-trip allowed for farmer-to-farmer conversation, in line with the amaXhosa adage that “you don’t know if you don’t go.”  Farmers were able to observe livestock grazing methods, converse with participating local farmers, ask questions, and share ideas.
After the trip, smallholders from Manzimdaka were inspired to take their knowledge back to the community.
49 -- the fieldtrip to Ikhepu

Smallholder farmers from Manzimdaka meet with cattle genetics experts on the way to Mceula

50 -- Mceula village

Mceula (Eastern Cape Province, South Africa)

 

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