In 1981 the Commercial Oilseeds Producers’ Association (COPA) of the Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) made the decision to buy an undeveloped property on the outskirts of Harare in order to create a research base for their members. Very soon afterwards they invited the Commercial Grain Producers’ Association (CGPA) to join their endeavours and the Agricultural Research Trust (ART) was created. The Trust was reinforced with the injection of additional capital by the Zimbabwe Cereals Producers’ Association (ZCPA) in 1983. More recently the Cattle Producers’ Association (CPA) contributed funding that gave them a seat on the Board of Management. The Trust was officially opened by the Minister of Agriculture the Honourable Denis Norman, M.P. in March 1983.
The Trust’s objectives as laid down in the original Trust Deed are inter alia to :
- research row and horticultural crops and to provide land, management inputs and skills for the production of applicable results for the benefit of all farmers in Zimbabwe
- provide a contract research facility for any organisation requiring a service
- demonstrate veldt and pasture management including intensive grazing of irrigated pastures
- demonstrate commercial row crop, horticulture, cattle and pig production as practised by large scale producers
- demonstrate and test agricultural machinery including irrigation systems
- demonstrate farm management systems using computer software.
- promote all aspects of agriculture through publications, reports, discussions, seminars, field days and visitor programmes
- provide an on call extension service for all bona fide agriculturists and their agents.
- more recently the Trust has endeavoured to become a fully self sustaining operation.
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