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Our Research Programs

ACIAR’s research programs help developing countries use science and technology to solve local problems

ACIAR's research structure focuses on ten programs of work. The programs cover key agricultural sectors (crops, livestock, fisheries and forestry), the science needed to sustain the resource base (soil and land management, and water and climate), as well as the disciplines that generate economic and social benefits including agribusiness and social sciences.

Additionally an impact evaluation program assesses the achievements of ACIAR's research and guides future investment decisions.



Farmers in Vietnam weighing a bag of cassava


The Agribusiness Program aims to give farmers and agribusiness better access to new knowledge underpinning the production and marketing of agricultural outputs at higher levels of productivity and quality. The program will address the full supply chain for agricultural commodities, including production, post-harvest processing and marketing issues.

Hands holding seed in a field


The Crops Program applies genetic or agronomic solutions to improve food security by increasing productivity and sustainability of crops.

fish farming


The Fisheries Program aims to make fisheries and aquatic farming systems in partner countries and in Australia more productive and sustainable through international research partnerships.

Man measuring tree


The Forestry Program contributes to economic development and natural resource conservation and rehabilitation through scientific support for the establishment, management and sustainable utilisation of forests, providing optimum social, economic and environmental benefits to partner countries and Australia. Areas of focus include:

  • development of silvicultural systems and improved germplasm
  • harvesting and processing approaches and the management of threats.
Researchers studying banana plants


ACIAR’s Horticulture Program aims to improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of fruit, vegetable and ornamental crop production in developing countries and Australia. Its emphasis is improving the utility and efficiency of supply chains, optimising the quality and suitability of produce for market requirements, and minimising pre- and post-harvest losses of fruit and vegetable crops. The program will increasingly focus on a complete supply chain approach to crop production. This approach will aim to identify and address multiple constraints to individual horticultural industry development that often arise simultaneously throughout the supply chain and that can make single issue interventions less effective.

Researcher and farmer talking in Indonesia

Impact Evaluation

ACIAR is a world leader in evaluating the impact and return on investment in agricultural research. Our Impact Assessment Program helps us to refine our priorities, learn the lessons from current and past projects, as well as enable accountability to the Minister, the Australian Government and the wider Australian public.

A farmer in Pakistan providing drinking water for her cattle

Livestock Systems

Small and large ruminants, pigs and poultry are the main livestock species kept by smallholder farmers. Building an understanding of the technical constraints and the socio-economic contributions of smallholder and pastoralist livestock systems help researchers to develop appropriate technologies and policy recommendations to support these systems in our partner countries. 

A family in Vietnam packing cassava into a bag

Social Sciences

The Social Sciences Program focuses on livelihoods, agricultural extension, gendered social relations, women’s empowerment, climate adaptation, ecosystems and natural resource management. 

watering and harvesting shallots

Soil and Land Management

ACIAR’s Soil and Land Management Program focuses on researching interventions in tillage and water management, nutrient management, and choice of crop rotation projects, designed in the context of a systems approach to conservation agriculture.

Ground water tap

Water and Climate

The Water and Climate Program contributes to economic development by enhancing long-term productivity, management and conservation of water resources and climate in developing countries and Australia.