Partners widen their support for smallholder farming

11 November 2020
Andrew Campbell and Colin Chartres sign MoU

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the Crawford Fund and the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) have extended their Memorandum of Understanding until December 2027. The partners’ Alliance for Agricultural Research and Development for Food Security supports research and capacity-building in developing countries.  

'Today’s addendum paves the way to benefiting smallholder farmers in the Indo-Pacific region, building on our previous work in Sub-Saharan Africa,' says Professor Andrew Campbell, Chief Executive Officer of ACIAR.

Crawford Fund CEO Colin Chartres adds: 'The Alliance can now plan new programmes supporting sustainable farming practices and innovation. Together, we can improve food security, crop quality, productivity and income for smallholders and their customers.' 

Since its creation in May 2014, the Alliance has capitalised on the partners’ complementary strengths. 'The first and very successful programme has been ‘Demand-Led Breeding’ (DLB),' comments SFSA Executive Director Simon Winter. 'The Alliance collaborates here with leading African institutions training and enhancing the capabilities of the continent’s next generation of plant breeders.'  

The DLB programme enables continuing development for professional breeders in national agriculture research systems and universities. State-of-the-art education modules and materials present the best public and private sector practices for breeding new crop varieties. 'By focusing on meeting smallholders’ needs, DLB aims to increase their demand for new varieties and boost local production,' Simon Winter explains. Over 400 scientists have been involved in the programme* so far, creating a community of practice in demand-led breeding across Sub-Saharan Africa.  

'This success has been possible because the Alliance partners share convictions on several crucial topics,' emphasizes Colin Chartres. 'In line with the United Nations’ SDG 17, we believe in the power of partnerships to achieve greater impact. We are also all committed to scientific innovation as a key to improving smallholders’ food security and livelihoods.'

As part of its remit ACIAR brokers agricultural research partnerships to foster new knowledge and technologies in developing countries, to improve livelihoods and food production systems. 'We draw on expertise from across the Australian agricultural innovation system to develop practical solutions for smallholder farming communities throughout the Indo-Pacific region', notes Professor Campbell. 'With today’s addendum to the Alliance’s Memorandum of Understanding, we look forward to intensifying this work and widening its international reach.'