Leadership at The Agricultural Research Council

Celebrating over 25 years in research and development, The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) continues to provide solutions to the agricultural sector as a premier science institute

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ARC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Shadrack Ralekeno Moephuli, has an impressive resume. Some highlights include working as a biochemistry lecturer, Director General (production and natural resource management) at the Department of Agriculture and is currently a member of the Genetic Resource Policy Committee of the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research. Dr Moephuli was appointed CEO of ARC in 2006.

When asked how the ARC had changed its role over the years, he said, “With the political landscape changes, the ARC has had to change and adapt its strategic objective to include the assistance of poor farmers of South Africa. The ARC revised and aligned its strategic objectives to be in line with the national outcomes of the sectorial policy framework.”

The ARC continues to contribute towards the scientific excellence within the country’s National System of Innovation. Dr Moephuli says, “I am particularly proud of the development of young researchers in the ARC and their contribution towards alleviating poverty and malnutrition in our communities. Our Professional Development Programme has grown from under 50 participants in 2007 to over 250 this year.”

Contribution to the scientific knowledge

In the last financial year, the ARC continued to increase its contribution to the scientific knowledge base of South Africa. Income generation among small enterprises is an important mechanism towards economic growth, poverty alleviation and sustainable agriculture development.

The ARC has established a number of economically viable enterprises to ensure food security in people’s lives. In particular, the ARC established a special programme targeting smallholder farmers called the Smallholder Farmer Agricultural Development Programme. ”The aim is to ensure that the scientific and technical support to poor smallholder farmers enables their enterprise to become sustainable,” explains Dr Moephuli.

Other than food insecurity, malnutrition has also been identified as a significant threat to human growth and development as well as productivity. In response to this the ARC has disseminated more than 150 000 seedlings of orange-fleshed sweet potato to rural communities.

Dr Moephuli needs to lead a strong team of superb, world-class researchers from diverse backgrounds so that they can deliver on the common goal of providing scientific solutions to South African farmers. He says, “Everyone employed at the ARC has a role to play in the success of the ARC, from the farm labourers to the researchers. I encourage the participation of staff and regularly give feedback.”

App for farmers

The ARC has released the ARC Hub app for farmers. The app allows farmers’ better access to the information as well as having access to ARC experts at their fingertips. The ARC Hub App is an innovation by the ARC to improve the lives of South African farmers, commercial and smallholder alike, as it provides a one stop agricultural solution to your daily farming problems.

The ARC continues to be committed to providing farmers with practical solutions and sharing research insights that will enhance their production of good quality produce aimed at strengthening food security and tackling malnutrition. 

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