There is consensus that investments in agricultural research & development (R&D) enables firms in the sector to improve their productivity and competitiveness and subsequently boost the entire economy. Spending on SA agricultural R&D has deteriorated over the past two decades due to a low budget allocation to state institutions such as the Agricultural Research Council.

For example, a study by the Centre for Research and Evaluation of Science and Technology at Stellenbosch University showed that public spending on agricultural R&D has been on the decline, as real spending growth averaged 5.1% a year between 1911 and 1950, then rose to an annual average of 7% from 1950 to 1971. Thereafter real spending in agricultural R&D ceased to grow...

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