Analysis into the effectiveness of the provincial agricultural research systems of KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape

Lutge, Rolf (2001-03)

Thesis (MScAgric)--Stellenbosch University, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: With the advent of Globalisation, the need for improved competitiveness ill agriculture, as in all sectors, has become increasingly important in obtaining satisfactory levels of growth and development. International producers are competing for South African markets while local producers must not only defend these markets, but also seek out opportunities globally. Agricultural research has been identified as one of the more important agricultural support services contributing towards the goal of increased competitiveness. Innovation and new technology are central towards achieving satisfactory competitiveness, and in order for these to be adequately available, the agricultural research system in place must be effective and efficient in its tasks and responsibilities. The objective of this study was to determine whether or not the agricultural research systems of KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape conform to the current challenges presented by the market, technology and economic environments. The effectiveness and efficiency of these systems regarding structural interactions, research investments and the involvement of the private sector was critically analysed with regard to the stakeholders within the system, namely: producers, co-operatives, private sector agribusiness companies and agricultural research institutes. The findings are discussed in terms of their implications for the agricultural sectors concerned and recommendations made for potential improvements and future areas of research. It was found that most of the structural interactions between the various stakeholders investigated were conducted inefficiently and have thus resulted in a lack of cooperation, poor relationship building, and sub-optimum productivity and growth. Furthermore, it was established that investment in agricultural research is too low. Although research expenditure growth rates and expenditure per fulltime researcher are high, most of the growth rates are on the decline and most of the organizations do not employ fulltime researchers, while the actual total amounts invested are low. Investment in market research for current products is satisfactory, while investment in market research prior to conducting research is poor. Finally, increased private sector involvement has not been realized. Incentives for greater private sector involvement based on profitability, have not been adequately developed. Of those companies who have recognized the need for increased commitment to research, all but one have predicted zero to low increases in research expenditure for the future, while current research expenditures are also low. There are many areas in which the agricultural research systems of the two provinces concerned must improve. A culture inductive of greater research spending and private sector participation should be fostered to overcome the causes and motives behind these problem areas. Currently, the research systems investigated seem incapable of effectively and efficiently supplying the agricultural sectors concerned with the much needed new technologies, innovations and research management necessary to adequately increase competitiveness. However, if all the shortcomings of the system are recognized and a new demand driven orientation adopted, the research systems of South Africa will in the future be more likely to promote increased productivity and growth in agriculture through greater competitiveness.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Met die koms van In verenigde wêreldmark, het dit noodsaaklik geword dat die landbou - net soos ander bedryfsektore - mededingend moet wees vir bevredigende groei en ontwikkeling in dié sektor. Internasionale produsente ding mee om Suid- Afrikaanse markte, terwyl plaaslike produsente nie net hierdie markte moet verdedig nie, maar ook nuwe geleenthede in die buiteland moet soek. Landbounavorsing is as een van die belangrikste landbou-ondersteuningsdienste geïdentifiseer om mededingendheid te verhoog. Om voldoende mededingend te wees, is vernuwing en nuwe tegnologie van wesenlike belang. Vir dié doel moet die bestaande landbounavorsingstelsel doeltreffend funksioneer en sy take en verantwoordelikhede behoorlik nakom. Die doel van hierdie studie is om te bepaal of die landbounavorsingstelsels van KwaZulu/Natal en die Wes-Kaap die uitdagings van die huidige mark-, tegnologiese en ekonomiese omgewings die hoof kan bied. Die doeltreffendheid van strukturele interaksies, beleggings in navorsing en die betrokkenheid van die privaatsektor is krities ontleed aan die hand van die belangegroepe binne die stelsel, te wete produsente, kooperasies, private maatskappye en landbounavorsingsinstitute. Die implikasies van die resultate is vervolgens bespreek en aanbevelings is gedoen vir moontlike verbeterings en toekomstige navorsingsgebiede. Daar is bevind dat die meeste strukturele interaksies tussen die onderskeie belangegroepe wat bestudeer is, ondoeltreffend is. Daar is te min samewerking, weinig sprake van verhoudings bou, produktiwiteit is te laag en daar is te min groei. Daar is verder vasgestel dat daar te min in landbou-navorsing belê word. Alhoewel die groeikoerse van navorsingsuitgawes en uitgawes per voltydse navorser hoog is, is die meeste groeikoerse aan die daal, die meeste organisasies neem geen voltydse navorsers in diens nie en die totale besteding is laag. Belegging in marknavorsing vir bestaande produkte is bevredigend, maar belegging in marknavorsing voor navorsing aangepak word, is onbevredigend. Laastens is die privaatsektor nog nie voldoende betrokke nie. Daar bestaan egter nie genoeg aansporingsmaatreëls om die privaatsektor se betrokkenheid te verhoog nie. Van dié maatskappye wat wel die noodsaaklikheid van 'n groter verbintenis tot navorsing erken het, het almal behalwe een, nul tot lae verhogings in navorsingsuitgawes vir die toekoms voorsien, terwyl hulle huidige navorsingsuitgawes alreeds laag is. Daar is baie opsigte waann die landbounavorsingstelsels van die twee betrokke provinsies moet verbeter. Daar moet 'n kultuur ontstaan waar meer bestee word aan navorsing. Verder moet die privaatsektor meer betrokke raak om die omstandighede wat aanleiding gee tot die probleme, die hoof te help bied. Tans wil dit voorkom of die navorsingstelsels wat ondersoek is, nie daarin slaag om die betrokke landbousektore van die nuwe tegnologie, vernuwings en navorsingsbestuur te voorsien wat noodsaaklik is om mededingendheid te verhoog nie. Indien al die tekortkominge van die stelsel erken word en die korrekte aanpassings gemaak word, sal die navorsingstelsels van Suid Afrika in die toekoms 'n groter bydrae kan lewer om produktiwiteit te laat styg en groei in die landbou teweeg te bring.

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