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 the commercial farmers of Zimbabwe
- provide a contract research facility for any
organisation requiring a service
- demonstrate veld and pasture management
including intensive grazing of irrigated pastures
- demonstrate commercial row crop, horticulture, cattle
and pig production as practised by large scale
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Initially the Trust relied on financial support from founding commodity associations, in 1993 the Trust became fully independent and charges for all its services on a full cost recovery basis, making it a fully independent agricultural research and extension institute with a financial budget designed to cover recurring operational overheads, planned capital replacement and capital development costs.
The Trust is a non profit making institution and all proceeds are utilised to further develop the Trust. This policy has enabled the Trust to remain self financing in extremely adverse circumstances and pursue it mandate of providing world class excellence to Zimbabwe.