Department of Agricultural Research and Technical Services (DARTS)

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Structure and organisation

DARTS is currently headed by a Director who is assisted at the Capital Hill headquarters by two Deputy Directors, one responsible for research programmes and the other for technical services and administration.

DARTS has undergone seen a lot of changes in its structure and organization since it was set up. The major change took place in 1985 when the research programmes were restructured from discipline and project based into multidisciplinary commodity groups. At the same time the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) was established to set policy guidelines within which the DARTS should operate. The ARC's main function is to orient the direction of research; approve programmes, budgets, and funding levels; and prepare research strategies and plans. The Council comprise 15 selected members drawn from all the Departments of the MAI, other agricultural research institutions and agricultural-related private sector institutions. The ARC has a Technical Sub-committee that reviews research programmes annually. Members of the subcommittee are professional agriculturalists with wide experience in their areas of specialization.

Research in DARTS is organized into seven commodity groups: cereals; horticulture; livestock and pastures; legumes, fibres and oilseeds; soils and agricultural engineering; technical services; and plant protection. Each commodity group is led by a National Research Coordinator (NRC), who oversees several commodity teams. Each team is headed by a Commodity Team Leader (CTL) and has several scientists under it, depending on its size. The CTL is responsible to the NRC who reports to the Director through one of the two Deputy Directors.

The commodity groups operate at three major research stations: Chitedze in the Central Region; Bvumbwe in the Southern Region; and Lunyangwa in the Northern Region. These are supplemented by four experiment stations: Makoka and Kasinthula in the South; Lifuwu in the Center; and Mkondezi in the North; and nine sub-stations at Baka, Bembeke, Bolero, Chitala, Mbawa, Meru, Nchenachena, Ngabu and Tsangano. Each of the major stations is headed by a Deputy Director, while the experiment stations and sub-stations are headed by Officers-in-Charge.

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