ACIAR works with scientists in Australia and partner countries to use science and technology to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and the sustainability of food systems throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

Our work in each partner country and within our 4 regions is determined through dialogue and consultation between ACIAR, research partners and in-country partners. ACIAR-supported research addresses the specific challenges and opportunities arising in local environments and builds on established relationships. Our research portfolio is organised into 10 programs.


close up of various piles of vegetables


The Agribusiness Program focuses on research and adoption of innovations to improve business outcomes for smallholder farmers, their communities and their industries at all points along the agricultural, forestry and fisheries value chain.

outdoors, erosion, water, dark sky

Climate change

The Climate Change Program progresses the science and practice of how to transform food systems and livelihoods that are under the most pressure to adapt or to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Systems transformation requires a strong focus on social and institutional change, supported by technical analyses, to create fundamentally new ways in which livelihoods are sustained and food is produced. 

beans and grains of various types in bags


The Crops Program aims to increase productivity, sustainability and utilisation of major crops by applying genetic and agronomic innovations to cropping systems important for partner countries and relevant to ACIAR strategic goals.

two people on a canoe on water, at sunset


The Fisheries Program brokers research partnerships that improve the livelihoods of fishers and their communities from productive aquatic farming systems and sustainable wild-catch fisheries. The program’s focus is on small-scale artisanal fisheries and low-technology aquaculture methods that benefit both women and men and includes research on post-harvest processing and trade along the supply chain.

outdoors, mountain, trees, sky


Forests and trees provide social, economic and environmental benefits. The goal of the Forestry Program is to increase these benefits to the human community in the present while enhancing environmental integrity and natural assets for future generations. The program focuses on opportunities to support livelihoods of the rural poor in partner countries from enterprises associated with forests and agroforests.

a close up fruit


The Horticulture Program aims to improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of fruit, vegetable, ornamental and beverage crop production in partner countries and Australia. The program works along the whole supply chain and across a
large variety of commodities, including banana, mango, pineapple, citrus, sweetpotato, coconut, cocoa, coffee and various indigenous and traditional vegetables. Research supported by the program increases on-farm productivity through integrated crop management, disease and pest control, and improved post-harvest storage and management.

a close up of pigs

Livestock Systems

The Livestock Systems Program brokers research partnerships that develop more productive, profitable and sustainable livestock systems for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. The program takes a holistic view of livestock systems, considering animal health and production technologies within the broader sociocultural, policy and economic contexts. Animal welfare and gender-sensitive approaches are central to the research design.

a group of people outdoors posing for a photo

Social Systems

The Social Systems Program takes a people-centred approach to agricultural research for development to reduce poverty. The program commissions research to address questions most effectively answered, or led primarily, by qualitative social scientists, with elements of quantitative social science where relevant to the issue under investigation. All projects endeavour to conduct trans-disciplinary research to deliver innovation and reduce poverty.

a man ploughing a field with live animals

Soil and Land Management

The Soil and Land Management Program aims to help smallholders boost productivity and resilience. At the same time, it strives to ensure that soil and food security are achieved, through sustainable use of limited resources in a changing climate. The program takes an integrated approach to identify promising practices within farming systems in specific agroecological zones. Intersecting with socioeconomic and cultural factors, it develops technologies that enable farmers to sustainably use resources and improve the productivity of their farming systems.

a man, water flowing out of a high-pressure pump outdoors, greenery


The Water Program (formerly the Water and Climate Program) addresses the challenge of efficient, sustainable water use to support agricultural production in a context of increasingly uncertain climate, competition from other sectors and declining water quality. Projects brokered by the Water Program share the broad aims of supporting sustainable diversification and intensification of
food production, working towards equitable access to and equitable returns from water within and between communities and regions, and working with decision- makers to inform policy development at local, regional and national levels.