• Login
  • Search Icon

Market your maize harvest

May 2019

Jenny Mathews, Pula Imvula
contributor. Send an email to

Smallholders should market or consume their maize harvest strategically to leverage greatest advantage. Over the past few seasons grain SA team members have been encouraged by the progress of the subsistence and smallholder farmers participating in the programme.

In spite of challenging conditions in some areas, these farmers are improving their agricultural practices and discovering the untapped potential of their fields. The secret lies in doing the right thing at the right time in the right way. We have seen how those farmers who learn from the experience of their mentor – and then actually put the advice into practice – are the ones who improve the fastest. 

So, with the help of the Grain SA mentors, assistance from programmes such as the Grain SA partnership with the Jobs Fund and with generous support from agribusiness who are committed to successful farmer development and land reform, Grain SA farmer members have seen greatly improved yields. This has proved to be both wonderful and challenging! 

  • It’s wonderful because heart-warming testimonies of farmers from Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal to the Eastern Cape, tell us how they not only have enough food to give them household food security, but they also have excess grain to feed their livestock and still more to sell. Some farmers have increased the scale of their farming operations because they have grown in knowledge and confidence. 
  • And it’s challenging because suddenly farmers have to handle much more grain than ever before. The safe storage of grains has needed more attention and education; mainly due to a lack of knowledge and because of poor infrastructure in deep rural communities. There are few easily accessible silos, roads are terrible, transport is costly and grain processing and milling businesses are far. These challenges can eat into the potential profit of the harvest and need attention. 

The marketing of field crops in South Africa is based on a free market system. Every farmer is free to choose where and when to sell his crop. He may sell everything immediately or he may choose to store the crop and sell it off slowly as he needs funds – or when the price improves. 

It is the responsibility of each farmer to negotiate prices for his produce. And farmers decisions must depend on all the market forces at play – so every farmer must make work of keeping informed about the market prices and other related expenses. This will best empower him to market his grain strategically. 

Here are some links to articles available online: 

Even if you are a small-scale farmer, you could save yourself a lot of money if you take time to plan how you will use and market your grain post-harvest. Make sure you have considered all hidden costs and risks, so you are getting the highest possible return on your investment of money and time each season.

Publication: May 2019

Section: Pula/Imvula