The Directorate: Sustainable Livelihoods oversees the implementation of a portfolio of technology transfer pilot projects, with a bias towards rural areas and natural resource sectors (demonstration agronomy, aquaculture and agroprocessing), located in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape, the Northern Cape, the Free State and Limpopo.

Sustainable Livelihoods aims to inform and influence the use of science and technology to achieve inclusive development, using knowledge products it creates from policy reviews and project information to support local innovation systems and small enterprise development.  It pilots the implementation of mature technologies that may serve the economic development interests of a community.  For example, projects to grow foods, essential oils and medicinal plants (demonstration agronomy) include people in isolated rural settlements and land reform areas in new value chains. The pilot projects also provide human capital and skills development.


Agricultural Promotion and Enhancement

The implementation of a portfolio of bioeconomy pilot projectsstarted, in earnest, in 2010. The portfolio was designed to include a wide range of agro-ecological zones (the west coast, south coast and east coast, inland areas, mountains, and semi-desert plains). The plant and fish species chosen for use at pilot projects are all in demand, most are indigenous, some are rare and slow growing, and a few are highly prized in nutrition/medicine.

In 2013, an important shift towards the agroprocessing of bulk locally grown fruit was made, growing capacity to provide incubation of agricultural small enterprises in an attempt to adopt a systemic approach to deploying science, technology and innovation.

In several instances, science councils took a conscious decision to promote the production of new species in a local economy. In other instances, the species were already well known and accepted as valuable production choices by the community. Projects are implemented in accordance with the relevant legal frameworks.

With the experience and information gathered over the past years, Sustainable Livelihoods plans to form new institutional arrangements to work with local economic development planners, financiers, grassroots innovators, local government and implementers, so that the potential of local/priority value chains can be unlocked by deploying science, technology and innovation.


  • Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

o   Enterprise Creation for Development

o   Biosciences

  • Agricultural Research Council

o   Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Institute

o   Institute for Soil, Climate and Water

o   Infruitec

  • Sasol ChemCity
  • Stellenbosch University


Ms Busisiwe Ntuli

Director: Technology for Sustainable Livelihoods

012 843 6429

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Engineering News article on essential oils project in the Eastern Cape (23 Sept. 2013)

African Centre for Gene Technologies

Botanical Supplies Unit and Clinical Supplies Unit

CSIR media release (March 2011)

The CSIR and Afriplex – partners in bringing health solutions

Media Club South Africa (11 March 2013)

Mozzie candle creates buzz


GCIS Bioeconomy Portfolio - Project Introduction

Science Direct enthnopharmacology article, Current perspectives on an emerging formal natural products sector in South Africa, published 28 October 2008.

University of Johannesburg

Indigenous Plant Use Forum

Water SA, 2007

African leafy vegetables in South Africa