The 30th of November marks a momentous day for the National Grain Research Programme (NGRP) when its founding members from academia, industry and government adopted its constitution and voted in its first Chairperson (Mr Jannie de Villiers) and two Co-Directors (Dr Miekie Human (Grain SA) and Prof, Cobus M Visagie (FABI-UP)). The founding members includes representatives from industry (Grain SA, SANSOR, the Maize Trust), academia (University of Pretoria, University of the Free State and Stellenbosch University), and government (Department of Science and Innovation and Department of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development). This follows many years of planning and discussions between the founding members.

The NGRP serves as a vehicle to support the national grain and oilseed industry through research and innovation. Our vision is to 1) increase collaboration between government, industry and local universities; 2) increase engagements between grain and oilseed stakeholders and 3) to promote industry-relevant, outcomes-based research.

One very important outcome of the NGRP is to develop human capacity in the form of post graduate students (BSc Hons, MSc and PhD), postdoctoral fellows, interns and technicians. This is important for government and industry to enhance and develop local agricultural research capacity. The NGRP will harness key expertise to set up and lead research initiatives to provide outcomes to government and industry. The programme will therefore systematically include more local universities at its core to lead certain aspects of grain research.

We celebrate today, but importantly look forward to growing the NGRP into a programme that will serve the South Africa grain and oilseed stakeholders long into the future.