Previous 40 years of ACIAR

Fiona Simson headshot. She has curly blonde shoulder-length hair and is wearing a dark shirt with a light-coloured jacket over top.

For many years before my appointment as Chair of the Commission for International Agricultural Research, Australia, I was aware of the significant positive impact that the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) had both within Australia, and in the nations of the Indo-Pacific region.

ACIAR began operating in 1982 to deploy Australia’s strengths in agricultural science to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, fishers and foresters in the Indo-Pacific region through international agricultural research for development.

This very special publication captures the story of ACIAR so far. It features achievements and highlights over four decades of Australia working with our regional neighbours to improve the productivity and sustainability of their agricultural systems, to increase food security and the resilience of supply chains.

I know firsthand that the funding ACIAR invests into research projects and capacity building also has a domestic benefit, with these activities focusing on topics that also matter to Australian agriculture – biosecurity, trade, supply chains and food security. The positive outcomes ACIAR generates are inspirational.

Farming is an industry of the future, and through collaboration and innovation, we can improve how the world produces food, nourishes people and manages natural resources.

What ACIAR has been able to achieve over such a long period of time, in so many different countries and contexts, as well as the benefits brought back to Australia, is astounding.

As an Australian citizen, a farmer and an industry leader, I am extremely proud of ACIAR. It is a unique part of our agricultural innovation system, delivering major benefits for our partner countries, and for Australia, for 40 years.

Fiona Simson
Chair, Commission for International Agricultural Research, Australia

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Left, Mrs Fiona Simson and women farmers talk with media representatives, at the site of an ACIAR-supported project trialling salt-tolerant wheat and pulses in smallholder farming systems, in southern Bangladesh. Photo: ACIAR | 2023
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