Geared for the new season

Published: 22 February 2022


Pieter Taljaard
CEO, Grain SA

As times and needs change, it is necessary to make adjustments within organisations and businesses from time to time to ensure that the focus is right and that the teams are adequately equipped to execute the strategy.

Over the last few months, we have often talked about the new season and the main focus to strategically reaffirm Grain SA to promote the long-term profitability and sustainability of the grain producer! It is extremely important for the Grain SA leadership to listen and thus better understand what the needs of commercial producers and emerging grain farmers are. We know that needs differ, but overall, the same drivers affect the profitability of large and smaller farmers.

Strategically, Grain SA focusses on six main divisions to ensure that we can continue achieving our goals. The team is set up with a core leader for each division. My right hand in the office – without whom we would not be able to function – is Susari Teubes. She helps to organise and arrange everything professionally and in a timely manner.

In the first place, any organisation is only as good as its people. My answer to a question last week about my feelings on the standard of the Grain SA team was easy and assured: “Above standard and incredibly dedicated!” For this reason, I believe it is very important to look after the well-being and development of the team. In this regard, Coretha Usher is taking the lead with the aim of compiling a complete and well-thought-out development plan so that individuals are given personal growth and development opportunities.

Secondly of course, the finances of Grain SA are of cardinal importance to us. As a non-profit organisation we have to deal with this in an extremely responsible manner. Christa Herbst takes the lead here.

Linked to this, but also seen in the light of the circumstances in which we as a producer organisation have to operate, we realise thirdly that fiduciary responsibilities will become increasingly important in the future. We are extremely privileged to be able to use the expertise and institutional memory of Nico Vermaak to establish and further expand this division (the Company Secretariat) in Grain SA.

True to our main focus on profitability, we have Corné Louw to lead the fourth division, namely Applied Economics and Member Services. This team of agricultural economists focus on continuously monitoring relevant trends and developments to make available to grain producers independent information in various ways and in a timely manner.

In the fifth place, the versatile Dr Dirk Strydom leads a diverse team of Grain SA marketers, researchers as well as the NAMPO teams.

Dr Sandile Ngcamphalala is the head of Farmer Development at Grain SA, the sixth division. This well-known development programme that was started in 2004, supports new entrants to the primary grain production industry through the coordination of development funding and mentorship. The division was started specifically because Grain SA has long had the vision to support transformation in the industry in a coordinated manner – and to optimally manage the investments and donations of funders in a sincere and honest way with the utmost responsibility.

In subsequent articles in SA Graan/Grain, each division’s lead will tell readers more about the relevant team’s focus and expertise to achieve our common goals. The purpose of this is to provide more information so that existing and potential new members can better understand what each division does on a daily basis and why the necessary capacity and expertise at Grain SA are indispensable. Some of the answers that will be answered are, for example, why Grain SA employs so many agricultural economists and why there should be research expertise in the organisation.

It is important for me to hear from producers and that is why we make a point of coming to you in the countryside in order to see and listen, but also to tell of our successes and challenges. Thank you to every producer who is so involved and who faithfully pays the voluntary levies. You all strengthen our hands and carry the country’s grain producers!

I would like to hear from you. Greetings and enjoy farming!