The South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI) is a world renowned agricultural research institute at the forefront of a thriving sugar industry. Research at SASRI is clustered within four multidisciplinary programmes, namely Variety Improvement, Crop Protection, Crop Performance & Management and Systems Design & Optimisation.

An Extension Service provides the essential link between researchers and sugarcane farmers. SASRI also offers a range of services including fertiliser advice, disease diagnoses and education courses.


Our Values

Customer focus:

We believe in excellent service delivery through a strategic and proactive approach.

Research culture:

We value a climate of creativity, innovation and national and international co-operation.
We embrace a research ethos that includes honesty and integrity in all interactions.

People centered:

We are committed to empowering people through participation.
We attach a great value to diversity of background and thinking and are dedicated to the development of potential.

Our Purpose

Sugarcane Varieties


Develop and deliver new sugarcane varieties providing increased economic returns.

Sugarcane Research


Conduct research to advance sugarcane nutritional, agronomic and engineering technology.

Sugarcane Farming


Provide services to support sugarcane farming best management practices.

Product Development

Product Development

Transform research outputs into practical knowledge and technology products.

Sugarcane Technology

Technology Adoption

Facilitate the adoption of technology and best management practices that encourage responsible, sustainable and profitable land use.

Sugarcane Agriculture


Generate new ideas to enlarge the scope of sugarcane agriculture and sustain the industry into the future.

Our History

In 1925, leaders of the SA sugar industry were prompted to established their own Experiment Station. The main reason for doing so was the need to introduce and select more productive and disease resistant varieties for the industry. At the time, the sugarcane disease, mosaic, posed a serious threat to the industry, as many promising varieties under test proved to be susceptible to the disease.

Dr WE Cross, Director of the Tucuman Research Station in Argentina, advised the SA industry not to rely on the inadequate number of government employed agricultural scientists working on several different crops, but to employ its own scientists in different disciplines to concentrate exclusively on sugarcane.

Management Team

Dr Derek Watt

Research Manager

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Finance & Admin Manager

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Operations Manager

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Human Resources Manager

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Extension & Biosecurity Manager

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Programme Manager: Crop Performance & Management

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Programme Manager: Crop Protection

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Programme Manager: Systems Design & Optimisation

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Programme Manager: Variety Improvement Principal Scientist: Biotechnology

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Resource Manager: Breeding & Field Unit

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Resource Manager: Crop Biology Resource Centre

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Resource Manager: Diagnostic & Analytical Resource Unit

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Resource Manager: Plant & Environment Resource Centre

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Resource Manager: Extension & Biosecurity

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