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A WORD FROM… Derek Mathews

January 2023

Farmers, I trust that you all had a blessed planting season and that the crop is growing to its full potential. One thing that I have learned in my career, farming for almost 40 years, is that every year has its own challenges. It’s never the same and it’s never easy.

As I write this note I think of how we as farmers equip ourselves to face the continuous challenges. Also how can and does Grain SA play a role in equipping and assisting us to face these challenges how big or small they might be.

One thing that I am very passionate about is driving hard to assist our farmers in being independent of funding from external sources and projects. If our projects don’t have an aim to make farmers independent but rather encourage them to wait for a grant, I think we are doing the farmers an injustice.

We as farmers need to take ownership of our own businesses and build and grow them ourselves. Yes, we might need a hand sometimes. We can however not always rely on that hand from someone else – because then it will always be their business or the business that they built and not our own.

So what can Grain SA do to assist us to grow into sustainable farmers? 

  • Firstly we need to fight for and ensure sustainable profitability for the grain industry. This will mean there is an opportunity for us as farmers to make some money and grow our businesses.
  • Next we need to hear the needs of our farmers who might need a hand to get on a growth path and facilitate and support the projects that can do this for our farmers.

As I see it, this is the best way Grain SA can stand by you in your journey to grow into an independent businessman or woman who can be proud of your achievements and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

I wish you well on your journey! 
– Derek Mathews is the Chairperson of Grain SA. 

Publication: January 2023

Section: Pula/Imvula