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Grain SA ensures sustainable grain production

February 2023


Grain SA is a member organisation that looks after the interests of all grain farmers in South Africa. The main focus area of Grain SA is to keep grain farmers sustainable on the farm. Grain SA’s strategic focus areas are in line with this vision of the sustainability of grain farmers. 

The aspects that Grain SA addresses – to assist in the sustainability of farmers – range from farm level to regulatory aspects at government level. Grain SA is continuously working on, and is involved in, a range of aspects that include macro-level discussions such as the land expropriation issue and the drafting of the five-year agricultural plan. This is to ensure that the grain farmers’ needs are also addressed at this level. 

In terms of grain-specific aspects, Grain SA largely looks at the inputs, market environment, regulatory environment and research. 

  • Input quality monitoring, maintenance and improvement of the diesel rebate system, as well as dispute resolution for Grain SA members, are some of the main input monitoring that Grain SA does. 
  • Timely and accurate market information, the promotion of market transparency and the better functioning of the local market are the most important aspects related to the market environment. 
  • Grain SA also has a great deal of insight into the regulatory environment, with the expansion of local markets, opening and maintenance of export markets, promotion of new technology and product registrations under Act 36, which is the focus here. 
  • On the research side, the coordination of farmer-driven research is Grain SA’s main focus. The list of activities and focus areas is long and we would love to share more information with you as an individual, study group or farmers’ association.

Although the value that Grain SA provides to the farmer is not directly quantifiable in all cases, the perspective on the actual cost of the Grain SA levies is important for farmers to capture the return they receive. 

Of the farmer’s total production cost per hectare, the Grain SA levies account for about 0,15% to 0,2%. The diesel rebate refund to the farmer amounts to 2,5% to 3% of the average production cost per hectare. This is one quantifiable example of returns that a farmer gains from the work done by Grain SA. 

Grain SA offers the farmer the opportunity to focus on the controllable aspects within the direct farming environment, while the organisation focuses on the controllable aspects outside the farmer’s direct farming environment. 


  • LEAF services: Grain SA, alongside other industry role-players, was able to prevent LEAF to activate their services since 2016. Grain SA and six other role-players split the legal costs to appeal the implementation of LEAF services. LEAF services would initially cost farmers R4/ton.
  • Alternative differential system: Together with Johan Strauss from the University of the Free State, Grain SA held workshops with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) to propose an alternative differential system, which will be more than just the current system.
  • SAGIS reports: Out of the Grain SA maize working group, a need arose for SAGIS to publish more details regarding the grade of current stocks. This will make the market more transparent and assist with better price determination in the free market.
  • Maize grading: Grain SA is pushing for a change in the maize grading regulations to improve the current grading system and create a more transparent system to ensure more accurate grading. This, in turn, will benefit farmers as less of the crop will be downgraded. 

Publication: February 2023

Section: Pula/Imvula