A litchi orchard covered in flowers after successful control of vegetative growth prior to flowering.     ​

The objective of the Horticulture division at the ARC-TSC is to develop new fruit production systems and tree manipulation techniques for improved crop production and pre-harvest fruit quality of tropical and subtropical crops, such as  avocado, macadamia, citrus, litchi, mango, guava and some minor topical crops, in order to support the growth, sustainability as well as competitiveness of the South African subtropical crop industries. 

These horticultural practices include irrigation and fertilization systems, evaluating planting densities, flower and crop load manipulation, pruning and the use of plant growth regulators. Existing practices are adjusted to mitigate adverse climatic conditions due to climate change and new horticultural practises are being developed on a continuous basis for new cultivars.​

Bagging litchi fruit panicles with non-woven fabric bags reduces
sunburn incidence and improves fruit colour.​​​ ​
An irrigation controller is used to schedule and monitor irrigation cycles according to daily tree water requirements for improved
water efficiency and production. 

Shade net structures are effective tools to mitigate adverse climatic events in subtropical crops, such as to prevent hail damage
or reduce heat stress and sunburn of fruit.

Farmer Development



To assist and support the development of smallholder and emerging farmers in the production of citrus, tropical & subtropical fruit trees and in essential oil production.  The following aspects are included in the development programme:​

  • Conduct due diligence studies, farm assessment, business development and management skills.

  • Conduct a comprehensive stakeholder mapping and analysis.

  • Conduct orchards farm development and commercialization of ARC-TSC cultivars that will adapt well in the climatic condition and soil requirements.

  • Conduct soil sampling, aftercare, fertilization, irrigation, rejuvenation pruning, disease and pest control.   

  • Postharvest management, agro-processing, packaging and logistics.

  • Identify key marketable products and services and spearhead implementation of the business development plan.

  • Establishment of out-grower scheme or co-op model, develop integrated, sustainable farming systems based on high value production clusters that can play a leading role in the development of rural areas and emerging farmers.

  • Training of farmers to ensure they have access to knowledge and technical skills f​​or fruit production.

  • Value adding and agro-processing in rural areas.

  • Post-harvest handling, Agro-processing, packaging, logistics, marketing skills and assist in access to markets.

Mango trees - NkanunuSM.jpg

Mango trees in Nkanunu village.

The programmes enable smallholder and emerging farmers in rural villages/areas to access markets and create sustainable commercial production.  This will enable them to achieve the following:

  • Make the transition from subsistence farming to commercial production;

  • Have access to timely & quality technical services;

  • Be able to convert these inputs into improved livelihoods.

Establishment of nursery is important in development and support to emerging and smallholder farmers to ensure they have access to quality planting material.  Nurseries in particular ensure that farmers have access to:
  • Uniform sized, quality trees leading to even plantation stands.

  • Pest and disease free planting material to the fruit tree industry. Can be established on small pieces of land.

  • Can make good use of land unsuitable for crop production.

  • Nurseries also offer opportunities for development of small and medium business enterprises. 

The project will improve skills development, nursery management and enterprise development. Training will be provided for smallholder and emerging farmers who want to establish their own nurseries and orchard farms:

  • Propagation of new selected tropical & subtropical crop cultivars.

  • Preparation of the growing medium for propagation purposes.

  • Selection and planting of good quality seeds in seedbeds or seed trays.

  • Selection and planting of good quality seedlings into plastic bags.

  • Selection of seedlings ready for vegetative propagation.

  • Establishment of gene bank to ensure that material used for propagation is from a reputable source.

  • Pest and disease control under the tunnel/ shade net environment.

  • Application of fertilizers under the tunnel/ shade net environment.

  • Irrigation management under the tunnel/ shade net environment.

  • Nursery management i.e. business principles of a nursery.​

Fruit tree nursery under shade net.
​​EssentialOilsNursery.png EssentialOilsNursery2.png

Essential oils field/open n​ursery.​

Establishment of out-grower scheme or co-op model.

The basic idea of the co-operative concept is that the farmers decide to join forces for specific economic purposes, such as achieving sufficient volumes for marketing or procuring services and goods, to run the business affairs jointly and solving problems fairly and effectively as required by the market situation. Activities, previously performed individually by each member are transferred to the co-operative, thus cutting costs and increasing the productivity of each member.  A co-operative model will be developed in collaboration with the farmers involved to ensure a practical and sustainable model is developed. Training on all aspects of the functioning of a co-operative will be provided to all co-op members on the functioning of co-ops. 

  • Smart agro climatic crop selection.

  • Market-led crop selection.

  • Lead farmer planting at Nomvalo-SM.jpg
  • ​Establishment and management of orchards/blocks.

  • Production planning.

  • Fertilization and irrigation management in all aspects.

  • Pest and disease management i.e., pest identification and spraying programs.

  • Weed control.

  • Crops harvesting and handling practices.

  • On-farm crop processing.

  • Selection and management of farm equipment'.

  • Maintenance of farm infrastructure i.e., buildings, dams, irrigation.

  • Labor selection and management.

  • Statutory regulation pertaining to agriculture/farm management.

Postharvest management, packaging and logistics

Postharvest management will address food loss and waste due to spoilage (pest, heat and disease), poor handling and packaging. These actions will improve incomes of traders and farmers as well as development of new agribusiness opportunities along the agricultural value-chain. Envisaged processes will include, juicing, drying, cooking and canning. Products developed will include: jams, atchar, shebo, sauces, dried herbs and spices. Practical training will focus on:

  • Postharvest handling of fruits.

  • Pack house operations of export standard as new point.

  • Postharvest processing of fruits.​

Rendering of service and Costing:

Description​ Quantity Per day Unit Price ZAR
ARC trainers (facilitators)

0-50 ha

51-100 ha

101-300 ha

301-500 ha

500 ha or more






1 650.00

1 980.00

2 376.00

2 851.20

3 421.44


1-5 participants

6-10 participants

11-50 participants or more




1 600.00

1 200.00


​Rendering of service and costing include 20%​ OVERHEADS,  Administrative support and 15​% VAT. ​ ​

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