FABI chaired a national maize cultivar evaluation trial (MCET) lecture on 11 November. Policy and Research Officer at the South African National Seed Organization (SANSOR) Dr Magdeleen Cilliers and Economist: Industry Services at Grain SA, Ms. Petru Fourie discussed the significance of the trials as well as trends and the legalities of maize production in South Africa.  

SANSOR and Grain SA are key players in the trials and their relationship with FABI as well as with partners in academia, government and the grain industry culminated in the launch of the Grain Research Programme in August. The launch followed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between FABI and SANSOR in 2018 to develop an insect rearing capacity and a project on the African maize stalk borer.

Since 2019, FABIans have helped as an independent organisation to sort and pack seeds for the national maize cultivar evaluation trials. The aim of the trials is to identify maize cultivars that are most suitable for growth conditions in South Africa to increase farmers’ yields. More than 30 students packaged 1,000kg of maize seeds into 2,420 bags in September. FABI is currently planning to participate in these maize field trials from a disease diagnostic purpose.