Laboratories play a vital role in the monitoring and effectiveness of the agricultural value chain.
- Resources like soil and water are evaluated. Precision agriculture and its accurate application of fertiliser, for example, depend on the soil tests.
- Inputs like animal feed and fertiliser are analysed. Using tainted inputs like fertiliser can have a detrimental effect on a whole sector.
- Tests and monitoring which happen in laboratories play a vital role in the country’s livestock industry and biosecurity.
- Agricultural products, both in their primary and secondary form, are monitored to ensure quality and food safety.
A look at the company websites will give an indication of the services available.
National strategy and government contact
- Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) National Analytical Services Tel: 021 809 1643. More information available under the Food Safety and Quality Assurance pages at www.old.dalrrd.gov.za. An Info Pak “National Analytical Services” also sets out services and functions.
- National Health Laboratory Services www.nhls.ac.za
- National Metrology Institute of South Africa (NMISA) www.nmisa.org
- South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) www.sanas.co.za
- Many agricultural companies have their own laboratories e.g. De Heus (Pty) Ltd, Deltamune and Chemtech (Omnia).
- Parastatals like the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) provide laboratory services. Find details on the “Research and development” page.
- The Provincial Departments of Agriculture provide laboratory services e.g. find the Western Cape Department of Agriculture Analytical Services information under “Our Services” at www.elsenburg.com. In KwaZulu-Natal, find “Laboratory services” under “Resource Centre” at www.kzndard.gov.za. Contact details of the provinces are given on the “Agriculture in the Provinces” page.
- Universities have laboratories for training and research, and also offer services to companies.
- Some of the role players listed above also offer training.
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