Improvement and cultivation of various crops. to benefit not only biodiversity but also counter malnutrition and improve food security and soil fertility.
The purpose of the ARC-ITSC is to provide sustainable and appropriate technologies for production and post-harvest handling of citrus and subtropical crops in order to enhance food security and nutrition, global competitiveness and wealth creation by addressing national priorities through its research agenda and related activities. Post-harvest technologies include agro-processing and export protocols; thus, catering for both the commercial and developing agricultural sectors of South Africa. The main campus is in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, where the growth of said crops is highly favoured due to the regional climatic conditions and several other research farms in the region and other selected provinces. The mandate crops of ARC-ITSC include the following:
The mandate of this Institute is to conduct research, development and technology transfer on deciduous fruit, grapes, alternative crops (e.g. berries, figs, olives), indigenous herbal teas and regional medicinal plants. Research involves a number of disciplines, namely soil and water science, viticulture, horticulture, post-harvest and wine technology, plant protection, breeding and germplasm. Post-harvest activities include wine and brandy production, cold storage and other forms of shelf-life extension (drying, canning, juicing and jam production). The major portion of research and development is focussed on food security and mitigation of agricultural risks, but the generation of new knowledge as well as the sustainable use of natural resources is also addressed.
The Institute is located outside Stellenbosch in the Western Cape and has 6 research farms representing different climatic regions. Unique facilities include a winery, cannery, irradiation facility and rooms for cold storage, as well as for controlled atmosphere storage. Infruitec-Nietvoorbij is also the custodian of grapevine, deciduous fruit and wine yeast genebanks that preserve genetic resources for breeding purposes, training and comparative descriptions.
This unit works towards the improvement and cultivation of grain crops - for example summer grains such as maize, sorghum and millet, as well as oil and protein seeds such as sunflower, groundnut, soya beans, dry beans, cowpeas, sweet white lupin and bambara. Research activities cover plant breeding, the evaluation of cultivars, grain quality, plant physiology, tillage, weed science, plant pathology, entomology and yield potential.
This unit conducts fundamental and applied research on cotton and tobacco, and industrial crops such as hemp, sisal, flax and cassava. Research activities include plant breeding, the evaluation of cultivars, fibre and seed quality, weed science, plant pathology, entomology and yield potential.
The Grains and Industrial Crops Division will research the re-introduction of indigenous crops. This will benefit not only biodiversity but also counter malnutrition and improve food security and soil fertility. The introduction of such indigenous crops such as cowpea, bambara, millet and sorghum is a positive challenge.
The Small Grain Institute focuses on the improvement and cultivation of small grain crops such as wheat, barley, oats, triticale and rye. Its research work covers plant breeding, the evaluation of cultivars, grain quality, plant physiology, tillage, weed science, plant pathology, entomology and yield potential.
The ARC-VOPI situated at Roodeplaat, north-east of Pretoria, is mandated to do innovative, need-driven and environmentally friendly research, technology development and technology transfer on commercial vegetables, Afican leafy vegetables, medicinal plants and ornamental plants. Research involves a variety of disciplines, including crop science, crop protection, breeding, genetics, biotechnology and agronomy. The aim is to enhance food and nutrition security, crop productivity, competitiveness, sustainability as well as wealth and job creation. Mandate crops include:
vegetables, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, tomatoes, chillies, peppers, garlic and leafy vegetables such as lettuce,
indigenous vegetables, such as amadumbe, amaranth, spider plant and indigenous leafy Solanaceae and indigenous potatoes
indigenous ornamental plants, such as Lachenalia, Ornithogalum, Veltheimia and Eucomis; and
indigenous medicinal plants, such as Agapanthus, Scilla, Tulbaghia, Hypoxis and wild ginger
Medicinal Plant Research focuses on the propagation, cultivation and
processing of South African medicinal plants, especially those species
that are highly utilised. Many of these medicinal plants including the
endemic species are often harvested unsustainably from their natural
population. As a result, some species are becoming rare or threatened
with extinction. The development of optimised propagation and
cultivation technologies for medicinal plants is an intervention that
can ensure a sustainable supply of good quality plant material for the
growing medicinal plant-based industries, contribute towards the
conservation of our natural resources and create job opportunities. In
order to ensure that the optimised technologies on propagation,
cultivation and processing of medicinal plants do not negatively affect
medicinal properties, several other research areas are explored. These
include analytical studies of bio-active components and the evaluation
of different biological activities of medicinal plants. In addition, we
actively engage in innovative value-adding research related to the
processing of medicinal plants for product development.
The ARC-PPRI, located in Roodeplaat northeast of Pretoria and at several strategic areas around South Africa, has the mandate to provide extensive and specialist knowledge of the organisms that threaten agricultural crops and plants in natural environments, to protect arable land, water resources, natural biodiversity, and food security. Research is focussed on promoting economic and environmentally acceptable, management strategies for pests, plant diseases, weeds and invasive plants. The Institute has expertise for, and manages pollution of the environment, which includes monitoring pesticide residue levels in agricultural areas to mitigate agricultural and health risks.
The following strategic assets are maintained on behalf of the state: