Production Research

Production Research

Importance of Production Research

Maize is one of the most widely-planted crops in the world. It is grown in more than 170 countries globally. Maize production is highly concentrated in certain countries like North America, Asia, and South America. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, in 2020, maize (corn) production in the United States (US), China, Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa accounted for more than 65% of global production.

In South Africa, a portion of the maize is used as carry over stock, but the bulk of local production is utilised domestically for human and animal consumption. In surplus years, a portion of the crop is also exported. Maize exports and production are highly concentrated.

Maize production has achieved bumper harvests for several consecutive years, in South Africa. Production costs have, unfortunately, also increased significantly over the past few years, which places pressure on the profitability of maize production.

Agricultural growth mainly depends on the improvement of production efficiency, which is a key indicator of agricultural progress. Improvements in technical efficiency are necessary to increase food production and release production potential. Production research should supply solutions to help create a sustainable industry that achieves worldwide wealth through better physical, economic, psychological and environmental outcomes. New models of production research will allow progression and improve industry outcomes.

Good production practices, plant health, biochemical inputs, i.e., chemical fertilizers, proper seed technology and mechanical agricultural materials, improve the technical efficiency of maize production and promote large-scale production. Promoting the scale operation of maize production is not necessarily “the bigger, the better”. Guidance and standardisation should be provided to farmers to seek the appropriate degree of scale operation.

In funding production research, the Maize Trust aims to, inter alia: improve maize production efficiency, reduce biological waste, improve economical production, investigate the impact of climate research, improve production practices, introduce new technology and thereby improve soil health and tillage practices.

It is necessary to innovate the production and farming mode of maize, promote the diversification of production methods, and develop a protection farming method that combines rotational crops. It is also time to promote the transformation of agricultural scientific research results, strengthen the training and support of scientific research institutions, experts and scholars to production entities, and earnestly take farmers as the main resource for agricultural production ideas. Simultaneously, the construction and improvement of agricultural service systems should be improved and farmers should be provided with good and reliable information services so that production and products can better meet the market demand.

Vision, Mission and Strategic Objectives


To provide safe and sufficient maize to South African consumers and processors.


To prioritise investment in maize production research and development.


Nurture biocultural heritage and traditional knowledge that underpins the South African agricultural biodiversity.

Adapt and encourage diversity, nutrition, sustainability and affordability of maize production.

Encourage and implement technologies to increase the nutrient density of maize as a staple crop through agronomic practices, plant breeding and modern biotechnology.

Invest in research to better understand the potential contribution and current constraints of maize production.

Empower farmers, improve their livelihoods, and increase their access to time-saving assets in technology and capital.

Advocate diversity of cropping systems, crop varieties, and production practices and enable farmers to cope with the challenges of climate change, scarce natural resources, and harsh landscapes.

Panel Members

Panel Institute/Company Job Profile Expertise
Dr Lukeshni Chetty (Convenor) SANSOR General Manager
Dr Miekie Human GrainSA Policy and Research Plant Pathology, Molecular Biology
Wayne Rosewall Premier FMCG QA/QC Manager Processing
Dr Magdeleen Cilliers SANSOR Policy and Research Officer Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
Prof Hussein Shimelis UKZN Lecturer: Crop Science/Plant Breeding Plant Breeding and Plant Production
Dr Brian Mantlana CSIR Impact Area Manager: Holistic Climate Change Climate Change
Dr Elbe Hugo Syngenta Crop Protection Development Lead Weed Science
Christiaan Troskie Bayer Product Deployment Lead – Plant Breeder Plant Production and Plant Breeding
Percival Sithole Corteva Agriscience Agronomist Plant Production and Agronomy
Dr Cornel Bender UFS Lecturer: Plant Pathologist Plant Pathology

Publications and Reports

Historical reports are still being sourced and uploaded.