Small and emerging farmers in the townships are appealing to the City of Cape Town to reconsider its position in dealing with their livestock.They have accused the City of trying to suppress the growth and the development of black farmers through its “absurd” by-laws by charging exorbitant fees for contraventions. Makhosonke Fokwana, a member of the Mfuleni Small Farmers’ Association, lambasted the City’s Animal Control Unit by-law, labelling it as “absurd”. In 2007, he said he paid about R14 000 for nine of his cows when they were impounded along Hindle Road, in Blue Downs. “Again in 2010 I paid R8 000 for 16 cows,” he said. In 2007 his cows spent five days in the pound and two days in 2010.On both occasions, he said, he paid R1 500 to transport the cows from Atlantis to Mfuleni. He said City’s actions had forced some farmers, who could not afford to release their livestock, to close down. Fellow farmer Mzoxolo Ntloko, from Philippi, said the City gave small farmers a hard time. “They (City) refuse to give us farming land,” he said. “We end up keeping our stock where we are not suppose to.” While he conceded that straying livestock contributed to road accidents, he portioned some of the blame on the City. Ntloko said if the City made provision for small township farmers, the animals would have been better looked after.City’s mayoral committee member for Safety and Security and Social Services JP Smith said farmers needed to comply with the City’s by-laws. He said the City’s Animal Control Unit would deal with any roaming animals. He stated that the animal By-law prohibited people from keep any animal or poultry without the permission of the City. “An application to keep animals may be submitted to the City. The City will then approve or refuse the application subject to certain conditions as specified in the by-law,” he said. Asked about plans to help the farmers, Smith referred the matter to the department of agriculture.Economic Opportunities spokesperson Bianca Capazorio said the allocation of land for farming is the mandate of the national Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, but as the provincial Department of Agriculture provides support to livestock farmers where possible through extension services, veterinary services and advise on how to access land. She said, however, that livestock farming was against the City’s urban agriculture policy and many of the farmers were hesitant to approach government officials.