​Improvement and cultivation of various crops. to benefit not only biodiversity but also counter malnutrition
and improve food security and soil fertility.  

Tropical and Subtropical Crops (ARC-TSC, Mbombela)

The purpose of the ARC-TSC 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 highl​y favoured due to the regional climatic conditions and several other research farms in the region and other selected provinces. The mandate crops of ARC-TSC include the following:

  • citrus, avocado, mango, litchi, banana, guava, macadamia nut, pineapple, papaya, granadilla, pecan nut, coffee and ginger

  • medicinal plants, herbs and essential oil crops

  • indigenous fruit crops

  • exotic crops such as carambola, surinam cherry, white sapote, and jaboticaba

Deciduous Fruit, Vines and Wine (ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij, Stellenbosch)

This campus was founded on 1 May 1997 through the amalgamation of ARC Stellenbosch: Institute for Fruit & Fruit Technology and ARC: Nietvoorbij: Institute For Viticulture & Oenology.  The campus is located in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape and has six research farms representing different climatic regions. Our mandate is research and development as well as technology transfer on the breeding, cultivation, protection and post-harvest technology of deciduous fruit, grape vines, alternative crops and indigenous herbal teas. ARC 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.

Field Crops

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.

The Small Grain Division 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.

Veg​etable, Industrial and Medicinal Plants (ARC-VIMP, Roodeplaat)

As a vital function of the Agricultural Research Council's Crop Sciences discipline, the Vegetable, Industrial and Medicinal Plants campus at Roodeplaat aims to improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of vegetable, industrial crops and medicinal plants to improve livelihoods and to ensure safe, nutritious food.

This campus conducts innovative, needs-driven and environmentally-friendly research, as well as technology development and transfer on commercial vegetables, African leafy vegetables, medicinal and indigenous bulbous plants, non-food crops (industrial and medicinal), leafy, leguminous and fruit vegetables.  The campus also focusses on farmer support, training and commercialization.

The commodity group​ a​reas of the ARC-VIMP are:

  • Medicinal and Industrial Crop​s Research

    The focus of this Commodity Group is on value chain development of commercially important medicinal and industrial plants such as medicinal cannabis, industrial hemp, Moringa, Artemisia species, Pelargonium species, cancer bush, wild ginger, African potato, essential oil plants, etc. This includes characterisation and profiling of genebank collections, cultivar development, the development and optimization of propagation and cultivation methodologies to increase yield without compromising active compounds and their biological activities, postharvest management, agro-processing and product development.

    The campus boasts four independent tissue culture laboratories for research, quarantine, mass propagation and in vitro genetic resources conservation, making the ARC the only institution in the country with the full complement of tissue culture systems.

  • Root, Tuber and Bulbous Crops Research

    Research and development on major starch staples and vegetables such as potato, sweet potato, cassava, onion, garlic, Amadumbe and other underground vegetables. Emerging crops such as cassava are also part of this Group. The   genebanks for all of the crops are housed in this division and the division will provide a cross cutting service across the campus.

    Ongoing research on potato pests and diseases is of tremendous value to commercial and emerging potato producers are taking place.  

  • Leafy, Fruit and Seed Vegetables Research

    Research and development of commercial and indigenous/traditional vegetables, development of hydroponic and vertical production systems, and climate smart agriculture, with crop protection as a shared service.  ​

  • Farmer Support, Commercialization and Enterprise Development​.

    Render SHF support, enterprise development and training of farmers and other benefic​iaries on vegetables, medicinal plants and industrial crops, as well as coordination of the commercialisation efforts. The ARC is a major implementation agency for SHF development, accredited training courses and mentoring, enterprise development and commercialization, and supports the South African government and several other organizations and institutions (local and foreign) with land and agrarian reform projects in South AARC-VOP Diagnostic Center (DC) serves all vegetable growers in South Africa. 


  • SHF Training and Support

  • Diagnostic Services

Investigates all plant disorders affecting growers (commercial, small scale and emerging), offers them control measures to eliminate or reduce their problems.

Plant disorders include biotic disorders (fungal, bacterial and viral diseases) and abiotic disorders (fertilization imbalance, adverse climatic conditions and herbicide damage).

Plant Health and Protection (ARC-PHP, Roodeplaat)

The ARC-PHP, 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:

    • The National Collections of Arachnids, Fungi, Insects and Nematodes

    • The South African Rhizobium Culture Collection

    • The Pant Pathogenic and Plant Protecting Bacteria