HORTGRO Science, the organisation mandated to manage the research and development activities of the deciduous fruit industry, faces a number of challenges as it seeks to effectively execute its mandate. These challenges relate to specific features of the operating environment, which include:

• The deciduous fruit industry is represented by distinct growers’ organisations, each with their specific research needs priorities and management structures and approaches.
• HORTGRO Science’s internal operational structure which relies on a mix of internal and outsourced resources and capacities to deliver research output.
• The potentially wide scope of research topics within the deciduous fruit industry by virtue of its broad product-base and export orientation.
• Limited financial resourced that need to be optmised.
• Maintaining a proactive and strategic approach to research prioritisation and management within an environment where there is significant pressure to respond to the shorter-term needs as they appear.

Given these challenges, HORTGRO Science has a strategic investment framework.

To aid clear communication and alignment with the growers associations, such that strategic mandates are clear and research resources are fully empowered to operate.
To support internal communication, alignment and multi-disciplinary collaboration of internal resources, programs and projects, such that all the required resources are brought to bear on research projects and that the most relevant and valuable outcomes are achieved.
To provide strategic guidance to the management of projects.
To set a strategic context where projects can be proactively identified, evaluated and managed within a longer-term time-frame.

To this end, the purpose of HORTGRO Science was defined as follows:

To generate and transfer the knowledge, technology and practicies required to mitigate, avoid or overcome threats/risks, and to exploit opportunities, that impact the ongoing economic sustainability of the South African pome and stone producers while ensuring the development and retention of skills.

RESEARCHERS that want to submit articles for the SAFJ, please find the guidelines here: safj-submission-guidelines-2016