RESEARCH TEAM MANAGER: Dr Ian du PlooyTel: +27 (0)12 808 8000Email:
The Crop Science Programme specializes in research on indigenous vegetable food crops, medicinal plants, commercial vegetables and production systems. The Crop Science Programme offers expertise in research, development and technology transfer of related products and services to resource poor and commercial farmers, as well as other agricultural organizations. The major objectives of the programme include:
Optimization of cultivation practices (propagation, plant density, growth season, harvesting practices, irrigation methods and scheduling, fertilization, adapted cultivars, hydroponics, analytical studies, etc) to increase yield and quality per unit of water and land.
Generate, develop and apply new knowledge, science and technology on production systems to ensure the sustainable use of land and natural resources under agricultural production.
Enhance nutrition, food security and safety through the optimization of production under low and high input conditions and agro-processing.
Technology transfer and product development through commercialization of research results to enhance the ability of the agricultural sector to manage and mitigate agricultural risks.
The Crop Science Programme plays a major role in the development and compilation of technologies as well as knowledge on production practices of vegetables (including indigenous vegetables) and medicinal plants. The multidisciplinary projects create the opportunity to develop innovative technologies for development of underutilized African crops. It contributes to an increased availability and diversity of crops to be produced by farmers in an ever-increasing competitive environment and seeks to lift the status of indigenous crops in South Africa as a valuable contribution to food security and maintaining biodiversity. The programme addresses the immense problem of food security and malnutrition in South Africa and the rest of Africa by promoting the utilization of indigenous African vegetables as part of a healthy diet, as well as advanced production technology such as hydroponic production systems for commercial vegetable crops.
The research group of the division actively promotes collaboration with other ARC institutes, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Medical Research Council (MRC), Universities, agricultural industries, as well as governmental organizations such as the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR), Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and several Provincial Departments.
INDIGENOUS / TRADITIONAL
AFRICAN LEAFY VEGETABLES
A CROP-BASED APPROACH
EMERGING COMMERCIAL AND
SMALL HOLDER FARMING