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Meet the partners of the Farmer Development Programme

July 2022


The American entrepreneur, inventor and business magnate Steve Jobs said that great things in business are never done by one person, but by a team of people. With several great partnerships making up the team it is not surprising that the Farmer Development Programme (FDP) of Grain SA has been so successful. 

Dr Sandile Ngcamphalala, Farmer Development lead, says the management team, regional development managers, mentors and study group leaders collaborate to ensure that developing farmers are reaching new heights. However, without the support of programme sponsors and funding partners – such as the Sasol Agriculture Trust – none of this would be possible. The trust has been involved in the FDP since 2013 and became involved in the programme as they supported Grain SA’s transformation initiatives and goals.

The Sasol Agriculture Trust aims to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the South African agricultural industry and provides support for enterprise development projects and emerging farmers. The trust also supports initiatives aimed at enhancing education and training programmes for farmers and the agricultural industry at large. In consideration of grain’s large contribution to food security in South Africa, it has a particular focus on the sustainability of grain production in the country.

The Sasol Agriculture Trust was founded in March 2012 by Sasol Chemicals Industries Limited. Sasol made a R30 million donation to the trust, which was paid in three equal amounts over a three-year period. The trust is administered by independent trustees for the benefit of the South African agricultural community.

The mission of the trust is encapsulated in its main objectives namely, to improve competitiveness and sustainability of the agricultural industry and the funding of:

  • market and production-related research;
  • market information;
  • market access;
  • enterprise development, education and training programmes; and
  • scholarships, bursaries and awards for agricultural studies.

The administrative services of the trust are contracted out to an independent entity, L&L Agricultural Services, who also has other clients such as the Maize Trust; the Sorghum Trust; the Maize, Wheat and Sorghum Forums; the SA Winter Grain Industry Trust (SAWCIT); the SA Cultivar and Technology Agency NPC (SACTA) and the Bureau for Food and Agriculture Policy NPC (BFAP). 

The trust identified several areas where it could play a role in achieving its objectives within its available resources. These are, inter alia:

  • Funding of agricultural research activities and programmes that are generic in nature or that spans across different commodities.
  • Provision of bursaries, scholarships and training opportunities in fields not currently addressed by the agricultural industry.
  • Funding of surveys and projects that are deemed necessary to improve the market for role-players and the supply of inputs to producers.
  • Funding of projects to improve the provision of market information and transformation initiatives.

Other agricultural trusts are commodity-specific and can therefore not fund projects or initiatives that are not directly linked to the commodities concerned. The Sasol Agriculture Trust does not have this limitation and can address the gaps that exist.

For this reason, it plays a complementary role to the actions and projects funded by the commodity trusts, without entering the domain of these trusts and without creating rivalry or duplication. Good co-operation exists between the trust and the commodity trusts regarding the granting of bursaries and scholarships.

Publication: July 2022

Section: Pula/Imvula