The Zambia Agricultute Research Institute (ZARI) is the largest Agricultural research entity in the country. It has 10 research stations with Mt. Makulu Central Research Station Being the institutes Headquarters. The Institutes overal objectives is to develop and adapt crop, soil and plant protection technologies and to provide a high quality, appropriate and cost effective service to farmers. The activities are carried out in all the three agro-ecological regions which are Region I which receive up to 800mm of rainfall; Region II receives between 800-1000mm of rainfall and Region III receives more than 1000 mm of rainfall.
To coordinate and implement agricultural research activities and services in order to improve agricultural productivity.
To provide a high quality, appropriate and cost effective service to farmers by generating and adapting plant protection, crop and soil technologies.
Structural Organization and Functions
The Zambia Agricultural Research Institute is headed by a Director and is made up of two core branches as follows:-
- Technical Services Branch
- Research Services Branch
Technical Services Branch
The Technical Services Branch is responsible for the technical operations of the Institute involving timely generation/adaptation of technologies in soils and crops in order to provide high quality research services for the benefit of farmers. Technical Services Branch personnel are stationed at the nine (9) research stations covering the three agro-ecological regions in the country. The specific functions of the Branch are to coordinate and provide technical backstopping in:
- Farming systems agronomy on the three agro-ecological regions (Regions I, II & III). This is done to ensure responsiveness to farmer needs based on the human, financial, physical and other resources and specialization of each region.
- Plant breeding and agronomy in maize, sorghum, millet, roots and tubers. The function is performed in close liaison with the Agriculture Department post harvest activities.
- Agro-forestry, soil fertility, microbiology, soil physics and irrigation/research.
- Plant protection, entomology, plant pathology, plant quarantine and phytosanitary services and food storage.
The Technical Services Branch interfaces closely with the Agriculture Extension Branch under the Department of Agriculture.
The Research Services Branch
The Research Services Branch is responsible for the management and coordination of the research systems by ensuring an agro-ecological approach to research in the Research Stations.
The Research Stations house the research programmes. The Branch is generally responsible for generating, adapting and disseminating improved agricultural technologies in order to ensure increased and sustainable crop production in collaboration with other extension service providers.
The Research Services Branch is structured on regional basis. It has the agro-ecological approach to research which is more responsive to the farmers’ needs than the traditional provincial approach. As a result of this approach, three (3) agro-ecological regions have been identified which are based on the soil types and climatic conditions of the region and determine the agriculture potential and productivity of a given region. The research system has nine research stations geographically located in Regions II and III meaning that research programmes in region I are carried out by scientists based in region II research stations. This is because Region I has no developed research station infrastructure.
Region I includes the Gwembe and Lunsemfwa Valley, the central and southern parts of Luangwa Valley as well as the Western and Southern Provinces.
Region II - covers the central belt of the country which includes Eastern, Southern and Western Provinces; and
Region III - includes Northern, Luapula, Copperbelt and North-Western Province.
The nine research stations covering the three agro-ecological regions are each headed by a Principal Agricultural Research Officer who is in charge of station programmes. At each station, there are other Principal Agricultural Research Officers heading different research disciplines.