The Agricultural Research Act (Act No 86 of 1990) mandates the ARC to carry out research, development and technology transfer aimed at promoting agriculture, industry and ultimately to improving the quality of life of the South African population, whilst protecting the environment.

ARC-ISCW, in carrying out its mandate, aligns itself with the five corporate goals of the ARC:

  • Natural Resource Use and Management
  • Quality of Life
  • Competitiveness
  • Informed Society
  • Integrated Rural Development

To this end ARC-ISCW has developed unique specialized expertise in the multi-disciplinary fields of:

  • Soil science
  • Agrometeorology
  • Remote sensing and digital image processing
  • Geographical information systems, spatial modeling and decision support systems
  • Analytical chemistry
  • Technology transfer including participatory rural appraisal

It has developed and is maintaining strategic databases for:

  • Agrometeorological data
  • Soil data
  • Land type data
  • Land cover data
  • Soil fertility data
  • NOAA satellite image data
  • Airborne and satellite image data
  • Selected ancillary databases such as farm boundaries, digital terrain data etc.

ARC-ISCW focusses its expertise and capability on the sustainable use of the natural resources and specifically on the following areas in which it regards itself as having a competitive advantage:

  • Natural resource surveying, monitoring and auditing especially soil, water and climate
  • Integrated land use planning
  • Food security, especially in providing agricultural statistics and urban agriculture technologies
  • Precision farming
  • Integrated packages of technology including early warning and decision support systems
  • Agricultural information systems (AGIS and SA-ISIS)
  • Risk and disaster management (especially drought)

ARC-ISCW strives to:

  • Deliver quality products and services, timeously.
  • Collaborate and form alliances with other ARC institutes, other Research Councils, academic and commercial institutions and foreign partners.
  • Refine a multidisciplinary and flexible approach to problem solving through the optimization of a matrix management structure and a self-managed, team-based approach.
  • Maintain and expand its decentralized philosophy, manifested in its satellite offices in the provinces, in order to be in direct contact with its major stakeholders.

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