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Photo by Tim Gouw: https://www.pexels.com/photo/fenced-barrier-in-dry-remote-terrain-5800225/

Let’s explore the different types of fences used by smallholder farmers in Southern Africa. Fences are crucial for protecting crops, livestock, and property. Here are some common types:

  1. Post and Wire Fences: This type of fence consists of wooden or metal posts placed at regular intervals with wires stretched between them. It’s a simple and cost-effective option for marking boundaries and containing livestock.
  2. Hurdle Fences: Hurdle fences are made from branches or wooden slats woven together. They are lightweight and easy to move, making them useful for temporary enclosures or rotational grazing systems.
  3. Pole Fences: Pole fences use sturdy wooden poles placed vertically or horizontally to create a barrier. They are durable and often used to enclose larger areas for livestock.
  4. Stone Fences: In some areas, farmers use stones to build fences. These dry-stone walls provide effective boundaries and require minimal maintenance.
  5. Thorn Bush Fences: In regions with thorny vegetation, farmers may create fences using thorny bushes or branches. These natural barriers deter both animals and people from crossing.
  6. Electric Fences: Electric fences use a mild electric shock to deter animals from crossing the barrier. They are effective for keeping livestock within a specific area and protecting crops.
  7. Woven Wire Fences: Woven wire fences consist of wire mesh with smaller gaps, making them suitable for keeping smaller livestock like poultry and rabbits safe.
  8. Chain Link Fences: Chain link fences are made of metal wires woven into a diamond pattern. They are sturdy and commonly used around homesteads and gardens.
  9. Living Fences: Living fences use live plants, such as hedges or thorny shrubs, to create natural barriers. They provide shade, wildlife habitat, and can be a sustainable option.
  10. Beehive Fences: In some areas, farmers use beehives hung along fences as a natural deterrent to large wildlife, like elephants. The bees discourage animals from damaging crops.

Remember, the type of fence chosen depends on factors like the size of the farm, the type of livestock being raised, and the available resources. Each type of fence serves its purpose in helping smallholder farmers protect their land and livelihoods in Southern Africa. Happy farming and fencing!


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