Crop Research Division


To provide research-based information, technology and products for supporting enhanced productivity and production of various crops, including horticulture, cereals, oilseeds, legumes

, roots/tubers, coffee and cotton (except for tobacco, tea, sugarcane and forestry).

Major Functions

The division’s functions are important in ensuring successful crop production and they include the following:

  • Developing new crop varieties that are adaptable to Zimbabwe’s five agro-ecological zones
  • Providing breeders’ seed to seed houses to supportFoundation seed production and subsequently,Certified seedfor the market
  • Carrying out research for developing appropriate field and horticultural crop production technologies for use by farmers
  • Packaging and disseminating research-based crop management technologies,

knowledge and information aimed at increasing agricultural productivity in an environmentally sustainable manner

  • Collecting, characterising and conserving plant and crop genetic resources for input into future crop variety development and for propagation and distribution to growers as disease-free clean material
  • Developing and share technologies on crop produce handling, processing and value addition technologies
  • Providing advisory services on crop management

 Human Resource

The Division of Crops Research consists of agricultural and applied science researchers with degrees. The mandate of the researchers is to develop new technologies, test them for their applicability and evolve these into usable information and knowledge. The researchers are supported by relevant technical staff with diplomas and certificates in agriculture, as well as support administrative and field staff.

Major outputs

Major outputs of the Division of Crops Research include:

  1. Products developed for increased crop productivity and production, and examples include: crop varieties; breeders’ seed and propagated vegetative planting materials
  1. Research-based information and knowledge on crop management to maximize yields and improve quality of products
  1. Technologies that improve pest management and control, such as integrated weed management
  1. Post harvest product handling and value addition technologies
  2. Farmer and agricultural industry support services through regular injection/supply of genetic resources into the farming communities and
  1. Specialist advisory and training services related to crop production

Crops Research Institutes and their Major Thrusts



Major focus

Institute staff establishment

Agronomy Research Institute (ARI)

-Harare - Institute HQ

Includes Units at:

  • Panmure Experiment Station - Shamva
  • Weed Research Team - Mazowe
  • Crop Prod. Unit – Matopos
  • Crop Prod. Unit – Makoholi
  • Crop Prod. Unit – Kadoma
  • Crop Prod. Unit – Grasslands

(Also tests agronomy technologies on farms inNRs II, III & IV)

ARIis involved in development of cropagronomytechnologies, including synchronization ofphysiologicalresponses of crops with various crop management strategies such as planting times, fertilizer management, plant spacing and weed management systems for various field crops including cereals, edible & industrial oilseeds, grain legumes, roots/tubers.

The institute’s geographical coverage focuses onNatural Regions II, III & IVof the country. It also carries out work on integrated crop production systems suitable for smallholder agriculture, as well as crop diversification studies.

Staff Establishment (whole institute):

1 Head, 17 degreed, 19 diploma holders,38 certificate holders, 174 labour force, 8 Accounts/Admin & HR

(Total = 257)

Crop Breeding Institute (CBI)

-Harare - Institute HQ &

-Gwebi Variety Testing Centre

(Also tests varieties nationally acrossallenvironments)

CBI’smain focus is on variety development, maintenance and provision ofbreeders’seed of various field crops including cereals (maize, wheat, sorghum, millets and rice); oilseeds (soybean, sunflower and groundnut); pulse legumes (cowpea, bambara nut and bean) and a tuber crop (Irish potato).

The breeders’ seed supplied is used in bulking offoundationand subsequently, certifiedseed for the market.   Currently, the institute is the solemaintainerof Irish potato varieties and supplier ofbreeders’seed of same to seed houses for bulking. It is also the solemaintainerofimprovedbambara groundnut varieties and supplier ofbreeders’seed of same.

Staff Establishment (whole institute):

1 Head, 13 degreed, 10 diploma holders, 25 certificate holders, 118 labour force, 3 Accounts/Admin & HR

(Total = 170)

Semi-arid Lowveld Research Institute (LVRI)

-Chiredzi Research Station - Institute HQ

Other stations in institute:

-Chisumbanje Experiment Station

-Save Valley Experiment Station

(Also tests agronomy & horticulture technologies on farms in thesemi-arid NR V lowveld)

LVRIis charged with developing and testing crop agronomy & horticulture technologies specifically targeted forvery dry(semi-arid) environments that are typical of NaturalRegion Vof the country. It comprises three research stations: Chiredzi – located on red clay loam soils, Chisumbanje – on black vertisols (basalts) and Save Valley - on light textured soils.

The institute has two major thrusts: (a) developing integrated soil and water management technologies for dry land smallholder crop production and (b) development of irrigation-based crop technologies that include appropriate micro-irrigation for smallholder gardens and irrigation for commercial crop production.

Staff Establishment (whole institute):

1 Head, 9 degreed, 12 diploma holders, 16 certificate holders, 157 labour force, 7 Accounts/Admin & HR

(Total = 202)

Cotton Research Institute (CRI)

-Kadoma - Institute HQ

(Also tests varieties and technologies on agronomy & cotton protection nationally acrossallenvironments)

CRIis a single commodity institute with the main mandate of variety development, maintenance and provision ofbreeders’(nucleus) seed of cotton used in bulking offoundationand subsequently,certifiedseed for the market. All the cotton varietiescurrentlygrown in the country were developed by this institute.

To support cotton production, the institute also develops and tests crop protection technologies against diseases & insect pests of cotton; cotton production agronomy technologies and also provides advisory services on general cotton production.

Staff Establishment (whole institute):

1 Head, 8 degreed, 12 diploma holders, 7 certificate holders, 138 labour force, 5 Accounts/Admin & HR

(Total = 171)

Coffee Research Institute (CoRI)

-Chipinge - Institute HQ

-Piringani farm – Mash. West

(Also tests coffee agronomy & protection technologies in the major coffee growing areas of the country)

CoRIis another single commodity institute whose main thrusts include development and testing of crop protection technologies on diseases and insect pests that affect coffee and development of coffee agronomy technologies.

The institute maintains coffee varieties that have been acquired from external breeding programs, tested and selected for their suitability to our production environment. It is the sole provider of improved coffee seed for commercial production in the country and it also provides ready-for-planting seedlings to coffee growers.

Staff Establishment (whole institute):

1 Head, 3 degreed, 3 diploma holders, 6 certificate holders, 114labour force, 4 Accounts/Admin & HR

(Total = 131)

Horticulture Research Institute (HRI)

-Horticulture Research Centre, Marondera - Institute HQ &

-Nyanga Experiment Station

HRIdevelops and tests production technologies of horticultural crops, including various vegetables, fruits and flowers. It also propagates and distributes high quality planting material such as grafted deciduous fruit tree seedlings to fruit producers.

The institute also supplies vegetatively propagated vines of sweet potato and strawberry runners. Seed of selected vegetables is also produced and sold by the institute, in addition to providing advisory services to stakeholders on horticultural crop production.

Staff Establishment (whole institute):

1 Head, 9 degreed, 7 diploma holders, 5 certificate holders, 73 labour force, 6 Accounts/Admin & HR (Total = 101)

Technical Development Unit (TDU)


This is a unit that provides day-to-day maintenance and repair support for the department onselectedequipment, field implements, work sheds and farm buildings.

Staff Establishment (whole unit):

1 Senior Handyman, 5 Handyman (Total = 6)

Divisional Head Office


Planning, coordination, resource mobilization, monitoring and evaluation of programs and projects in the Division

Staff Establishment (HO):

1 Director, 2 Deputy Directors, 1 Accountant, 1 HR Officer, 1 Admin Officer, 1 Executive Assistant, 1 Accounting Assistant, 3 HR Assistant, 3 Admin Assistant, 3 Records & Info Assistant, 2 Executive Assistant, 1 Driver & 2 Office Orderly (Total = 22)