The ARC was established in 1990 through the Agricultural Research Act 86 of 1990 (as amended by Act 27 of 2001) and is the principal agricultural research institution in South Africa. It is a schedule 3A public entity in terms of the Public Finance Management Act 1 of 1999, (as amended by Act 29 of 1999). Its core mandate as defined in the Act is to act as the principal agricultural research institution in South Africa so as to conduct research, drive research and development, drive technology development and the transfer (dissemination) of information in order to: Promote agriculture and related industries; Contribute to a better quality of life; Facilitate/ensure natural resource conservation; and Alleviate poverty.
The ARC’s main functions, as provided for in the Act, are to:
- Undertake and promote research, technology development and technology transfer;
- Utilise the technological expertise in its possession and make it generally available;
- Publish information concerning its objectives and functions, and establish facilities for the collection and dissemination of information in connection with research and development;
- Publish the results of research;
- Establish and control facilities in the fields of research, technology development and technology transfer that the Council may determine from time to time;
- Cooperate with departments of state, institutions, persons and other authorities for the promotion and conduct of research, technology development and technology transfer;
- Promote the training of research workers by means of bursaries or grants-in-aid for research, technology development and technology transfer, and contribute financially;
- Research, development and technology transfer programmes;
- Hire or let facilities; and
- Cooperate with persons and authorities in other countries conducting or promoting research, technology development and technology transfer in agriculture.
'Excellence in Agricultural Research and Development'
The ARC's vision reflects its core business and celebrates its unique role, acknowledging its position as the principal agricultural research institution in South Africa.
The vision highlights the need to harness ARC capabilities to ensure that it becomes an organization known for its excellence in its core area of business.
'The Agricultural Research Council is a premier science institution that conducts research with partners, develops human capital and fosters innovation to support and develop the Agricultural sector.'
Research and Development
The ARC conducts its business at head office and on 11 main research campuses - at Bethlehem, Nelspruit, Potchefstroom, Pretoria, Rustenburg and Stellenbosch-and a number of laboratories, office buildings and research farms throughout the country.
Cultivation of tropical and subtropical fruits, commercial and indigenous vegetables; research on the production and development of ornamentals and indigenous flora; cultivation and post-harvest technology of deciduous fruit; cultivation of table grapes, raisin grapes and wine grapes, as well as the production of wine and brandy.
Natural Resources & Engineering
Conduct engineering technology research. Promotes the sustainable use and management of agricultural natural resources. Development of geospatial information systems. Research on pests, diseases and weeds that threaten plants in crop and natural environments.
Animal Production And Animal Health
Animal Health and Animal Production was developed out of a process of rationalising and restructuring the animal science institutes at Irene (the Animal Improvement Institute and the Animal Nutrition and Animal Products Institute) and the Range and Forage Institute at Roodeplaat.
Improvement and cultivation of grain crops(summer grains as well as oil and protein seeds), small grain crops and industrial crops. 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.
Technology Transfer (TT)
The TT division is organised in such a manner as to provide value to internal partnerships, through the formulation and implementation of systems and processes for the technology transfer to happen, and through providing internal services aimed at improved decision-making and an environment that fosters innovation. The division consists of a group of elements that can be referred to as processes, namely IP commercialisation, business generation and training. The enablers are knowledge management and IP protection, and decision-support is taken care of by the Economics and Biometry unit.
The Human Resource Division ensures that the ARC has a stimulating environment where employees can grow and develop. It is Human Resources’ responsibility to align the performance management systems with a high performance culture, and we remain committed to developing competent research and organisational leaders who focuses their efforts on developing effective teams and greater employee engagement across the organisation. This promotes and enhances a culture of high performance, and employee retention.
Marketing and Stakeholder Management
The Marketing and Communications Division shapes perceptions about the ARC and elevates the organisation’s reputation and image through the creative use of a suite of communication channels such as media relations, advertising, exhibitions, signature events and other activities. Our brand identity strategy enhances the ARC’s reputation and presence nationally and internationally. We service our internal constituencies through prompt, proactive and proficient communications. Communication includes the dissemination of information in a variety of ways, with the common goal of enhancing the organisation’s raison d’etre.
Information and Communication Technology
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) remains a key enabler for the achievement of organisational strategies and objectives. The key focus for ICT in the financial year 2012-13 has been the implementation of two strategic projects, namely:
- the renewal and upgrade of the core ICT infrastructure across the entire organisation; and
- the acquisition and implementation of an integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution.
The key strategic focus areas for Facilities Management is effective and optimised utilisation of SRC assets. A further key focus area is the need for asset protection in the form of implementation of various security measures across all ARC sites.