Research Management

The potato industry is acutely aware of the fact that the sustainability of potato production depends largely on the success of its research and development programmes. The promotion of sustainable potato production, including water use, soil quality and disease management, is the primary objective of potato research over the coming years.

This comes down to production technology that will have no further negative impact on the environment and the earth’s natural resources. The likely effect of climate change on potato production must be determined, since it will put pressure on the effective use of resources such as water. Calls for greater restrictions on the use of certain chemicals, as well as pressure from the government regarding resource management, can also be expected.

If an industry is to remain competitive and sustainable, it must have the necessary research capacity to monitor inputs, to ensure the most efficient use of resources, and to develop alternatives where necessary.

Transformation in the potato industry goes much further than just black producers and communities that plant potatoes. The tertiary skills pipeline makes provision for bursaries to be awarded to students for obtaining agricultural-related qualifications that focus on potato production. Up to the 2018 academic year, 119 bursaries have been awarded to students for graduate and postgraduate studies.

The value that this adds to the expansion of the industry’s pool of knowledge cannot be over-stated. Furthermore, farm based training is also on offer and includes aspects such as tractor maintenance, forklift training, pack house training and first aid to equip farm laborers to do their work.

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