Grain SA - Farmer Development Programme

Contribute to all the pillars of rural development in order to address food security, food sovereignty, and income generation.

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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Grain South Africa (Grain SA)

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Scaling (the solution has passed the previous stages and is growing its impact on a regional or global scale)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $1mil - $5mil

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 10,000 - 50,000

Organization type

  • Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector

Secondary Focus Area

  • Rural development
  • Nutrition

Headquarters location: Country

  • South Africa

Headquarters location: City

Gauteng Province, Pretoria

Location(s) of impact

South Africa operating in following regional offices: Bloemfontein Ladybrand Mthatha Kokstad Nelspruit Vryheid Paarl Lichtenburg Maclear


Facebook URL

Twitter URL

Grain SA:

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

Since 1994 with the dawn of true democracy in South Africa, there has been a lot of land restitution and redistribution, while at the same time, farmers in the old ‘homeland’ areas have access to very large tracts of land which is not being used optimally. Through the programme, we are trying to empower these farmers to farm for themselves and not contractors, to own their own equipment and not rely on the activities of other service providers and to use the land that is available to them using the most modern methods.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Proposed strategies and solutions to the problem has been creating sustainable land usage, optimize the use of unproductive land, increase financial returns to farmers on the land they have available and this is done through (to name a few) increased yields, reduced production costs, improved tillage practices and use of modern technology. The programme seeks to also improve access to production credit for black farmers and create access to multi risk insurance for farmers. One of the programmes that focuses on solving the problem is our Study Group Programme. Through the programme, the development coordinators have access to the farmers on a regular basis and they are able to lecture the farmers on all aspects of production, marketing and management. It has been interesting to see that over the years, as the farmers become more advanced, they express the need for more advanced information while at the same time, the progressive farmers assist the less advanced farmers to progress.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

Through the Study Group Programme, we were able to impact over 10 000 farmers through the mentorship. This programme also forms part as a contact point for the planting of demonstration trials and hosting of farmer’s days where vast information is shared. The programme is also able to provide training courses and workshops on courses which were identified as important for the farming business at different levels. Through mentor contacts, there has been improved knowledge and skills relating to production practices, land use, mechanization, management, marketing, business acumen and total resource utilization. There has been individual empowerment of each farmer and most importantly, financial independence that impacts the surrounding communities and their households. To inspire other farmers, each year we have a competition for farmers in different categories and it is really heartening to see the progress of the farmers.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

Over the past number of years, Grain SA has been very fortunate to receive funding from the Maize Trust, Winter Cereals Trust, Oil and Protein Seeds Development Trust, the Sorghum Trust, the AgriSETA, the ARC, Department of Agriculture and the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform. The programme also relies on private funding from other companies to help run the programme successfully. A large bulk of the funding is mainly from private independent agricultural agencies and a part from government. In an attempt to service all developing farmers in the grain, oil and protein seeds and cereal producing areas, offices have been established across the country and in each of these offices, funding becomes main priority to ensure this project remains sustainable for the long term.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

The programme’s main goal is to also ensure that small-scale farmers produce commercial yields, growing them from 1 ton/ha of maize to over 6 tons per hectare, making it sufficient for farmers to feed their household while also have enough for sale in order to see returns. That benefits the community and adds to sustainable growth. Farmers are also exposed to ever-changing technology and advanced machinery making their daily operations more efficient.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

Grain SA wanted to contribute to a united and prosperous agricultural sector as well as address food security and food sovereignty, income generation for those who have access to land while creating protection of the natural resources and creating jobs. The relevance of this programme was sparked by political and historical past which left many South African black farmers with huge amounts of land but no optimization due to lack of prior knowledge. Once those farm lands could be productive, then a string of economic challenges would have been dealt with, such as income distribution, food security and growth in the sector and the economy. Challenges faced in South Africa were thus used as an opportunity to unlock the potential we speak so highly of today. All we had to do was just start!

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Upon recommendation from others


Join the conversation:

Photo of J-Palm Liberia

Such amazing program! I'd love to see more done to improve financial sustainability. Perhaps the farmers can contribute a share of the additional yield?

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