The 1982 rationale for establishing ACIAR was that Australian agricultural science has much to offer countries in our region, as they work to improve their food security by increasing agricultural productivity, sustainability and food system resilience. That proposition is even more valid, if not vital today.
In developing countries, the largest proportion of the workforce is typically engaged in the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors. Accordingly, achieving productivity gains in agriculture and improving market access or developing new markets for smallholders are among the most effective ways to lift people out of poverty as well as reduce hunger and malnutrition.
All countries in the Indo-Pacific region are grappling with the complex, intersecting challenges of how to increase food production by around seventy percent by 2050, in more variable and challenging climates. Many developing countries in our region confront the ‘double burden’ of having significant sections of their population facing chronic hunger, malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency, while growing populations are consuming excess calories and suffering from obesity and associated diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. The contemporary challenge is not only to grow more food, but to feed more people with more nutritious food—using less land, water, energy and nutrients per unit of output, while substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
This Corporate Plan builds upon ACIAR’s 35-year track record of brokering influential partnerships in agricultural research. We are embarking on a new long-term strategy that will guide a sharpening of focus in our research portfolio and some program consolidation, a substantial overhaul of our approach to outreach, capacity building and evaluation, and a modernisation of our project management, information management and finance systems.