The Maize Trust was founded in August 1998 to promote the South African maize industry. The Trust serves the industry through financial support for institutions and organisations with programmes aimed at market and production related research. The secondary objectives of the Trust are to fund the assimilation and dissemination of market information and to broaden market access for the benefit of the maize industry.
The Trust was formed after the closure of the Maize Board and inherited the remaining assets of that Board.
The Trust does not have personnel, but makes use of the services of an investment adviser on a contractual basis to advise the Trustees on the investment of the Trust’s funds. The administrative services of the Trust are contracted out to an independent entity. The Trustees are not remunerated for their services, but are reimbursed for their direct and indirect expenses on behalf of the Trust. The Board of Trustees comprises six members and is appointed for a term of two years. Three of the Trustees are appointed by specific maize industry sectors, while the other three Trustees are appointed by the Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The mission of the Maize Trust is to facilitate the continuous improvement of the entire maize industry in South Africa, to ensure that the industry becomes the leader in the region and that it is internationally competitive.
The Trust Deed does not specify beneficiaries but only lists the objectives of the Trust. This means that funding from the Trust can be accessed by anybody in the maize industry who can demonstrate that an intended programme will benefit the industry as a whole. The Trust’s funding is aimed at the financial support of actions and programmes by acceptable institutions involved in the industry.
The general criterion for funding is that each project should have a quantifiable and measurable outcome, which is consistent with the mission and objectives of the Trust. The Trustees have also compiled a set of Norms and Procedures that are applicable to applications for financial assistance that are submitted to the Trust. The Trustees, twice a year, consider applications for funding and approximately a further six meetings are held annually to discuss the general operations and investments of the Trust.
Since its establishment, the Maize Trust has granted a large amount of money to a variety of organisations and institutions involved in research, development and information programmes in the South African maize industry. The grants are paid from the annual income of the Trust, which is derived from dividends and interest on the investment of the donations that have been received from the Maize Board. The Trust does not have any other income.
The Maize Trust currently funds most of its transformation projects through the Farmer Development Programme of Grain SA and by means of the Grain Farmer Development Association (GFADA).
The Grain SA Farmer Development Programme has been in existence since 2000. An amount of more than R110 million has hitherto been funded by the Maize Trust through this programme, for the training and development of new black maize farmers. There are approximately 3 600 black farmers in the Grain SA study groups and 58 farmers in a 250 ton maize club. More than 120 black farmers are serviced currently as part of an advanced farmer project within the Development Programme of Grain SA.
GFADA assists black emerging farmers by paying for, inter alia, soil correction, comprehensive crop insurance and the costs of mentors to assist the farmers for a five year period or longer. By not being limited to funding for one commodity only, GFADA has the added benefit of crop rotation opportunities for the farmers.
Over and above the funding granted by means of GFADA and Grain SA, the Trust also funds transformation projects through projects of the Agricultural Research Council.
The Trust also annually grants approximately 12 bursaries for maize related MSc and PhD studies to qualifying students at all the South African Universities, of which at least 50% is from disadvantaged communities.