Previous South Asia region program
A panel providing information about Bangladesh  A$4.08 million Budgeted funding  15 ACIAR-supported projects   12 Bilateral and regional research projects 3 Small projects and research activities 7 Projects specific to Sri Lanka  8 Regional projects


Agriculture plays a pivotal role in the Bangladesh economy and in the lives of the vast majority of the population.

The agriculture sector accounts for more than half of employment in Bangladesh. Notwithstanding its transformation from a country of chronic food shortages to one of net food grain self-sufficiency, Bangladesh still faces very substantial food security challenges. While poverty is steadily declining, many people still live below the poverty line.

Recently, Bangladesh has made impressive progress in achieving national food security. Investments in agricultural research have played a pivotal role in driving productivity increases of major crops. The ongoing challenge is to improve the sustainability of agricultural production, productivity of low-lying areas and rainfed cropping systems, and increase rural incomes. This goal is adversely affected by increasing seasonal climate variability, reduced freshwater river flows and seawater intrusion.

Climate change is the most pressing issue for Bangladesh, with varying levels of vulnerability and impacts across the country. Coastal areas are prone to salinity intrusion and tropical cyclones, the floodplains in the central areas are prone to floods, the north-western region is prone to drought, the north-eastern region is prone to flash floods and the hilly regions are prone to erosion and landslides.

Bangladesh is an active participant in the global effort to combat climate change and must develop adequate adaptive capacity to protect its people and economy. In view of the substantial long-term challenges presented by climate change, the government has developed a long-term Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 that focuses on developing approaches to sustainable management of water, environment and land resources. Being an active partner, Bangladesh plays a vital role in international and regional forums, particularly in the United Nations, Commonwealth and South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation.

The Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan is the de facto policy document that provides strategic direction for work on climate-change related issues. Many elements of climate-change adaptation in the country are also being addressed through specific sectoral policies. Recent consultations highlighted that the consequences of climate change on rural livelihoods is the most pressing issue facing Bangladesh. This is likely to drive thinking about future priorities for research collaboration with ACIAR.

Key priorities for Bangladesh (National Agriculture Policy 2018) that align with ACIAR objectives are:

  • diversification of crops, including production of high-value crops
  • development and promotion of stress-tolerant, disease-resistant and nutritious crop varieties
  • improvement of crop production systems for market-oriented agriculture
  • building national capacity in innovation
  • extension of technologies to increase overall productivity growth and reduce the difference between research farm and field-level yields.

ACIAR supports regional approaches to assisting Bangladesh, including in the areas of natural resource management, improving trade connectivity and encouraging investments to empower women to participate in cross-regional trade opportunities.

Country priorities

Bangladesh has been an ACIAR partner country since the mid-1990s. Over time, the ACIAR program has shifted towards a farming systems approach supporting broader food security aspects, improved production and diversification of rice-based farming systems, and adaptation to climate change. This approach includes research on short-duration varieties of pulses to fit the farming system context of Bangladesh, conservation agriculture-based technologies and related mechanisation, saline land management and adaptation to climate change. ACIAR-supported programs in Bangladesh have focused on the undulating lands of the north and north-west regions and the coastal region (which is the poorest and most vulnerable region in the country). Bangladesh’s ability to maintain food security given its high vulnerability to the impacts of climate change underpins the priorities for our support.

Key agricultural production challenges are common to many countries of South Asia, and we play a role in strengthening regional research linkages between Bangladesh and other countries, particularly India (Bihar and West Bengal states) and Nepal (eastern Terai region).

Consultation with key research and development stakeholders in Bangladesh and Australia established the ACIAR–Bangladesh Collaboration Strategy 2021–2030 and confirmed the following priorities for research collaboration:

  • crop improvement, with a focus on wheat, maize and pulses
  • improved farming systems, with a focus on cropping systems and diversification
  • water management, with a focus on managing both quantity (scarcity, groundwater and waterlogging) and quality (salinity)
  • soil fertility and soil management
  • markets, diversification and agricultural value chains
  • agricultural mechanisation.

Research will focus on farming systems of north, north-west and coastal Bangladesh.

The Krishi Gobeshona Foundation is a strategic partner and co-investor with ACIAR in Bangladesh. The foundation is an agricultural research funding organisation that has made major investments in funding research and capacity building in ACIAR-supported projects. The partnership with the foundation for collaboration in agriculture research and development in Bangladesh was renewed in January 2021 for 5 years.

2023–24 research program

The research program addresses our high-level objectives, as outlined in the ACIAR 10-Year Strategy 2018–2027, as well as specific issues and opportunities identified by ACIAR and our partner organisations.

The following table lists ACIAR-supported projects active in Bangladesh during 2023–24.

Current and proposed projects in Bangladesh, 2023–24

ProgramProject title & codeCountry
 Understanding the drivers of successful and inclusive rural regional transformation: sharing experiences and policy advice in Bangladesh, China, Indonesia and Pakistan ADP/2017/024Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Pakistan
Climate Change
 Paribartan: participatory action research on locally led iterative learning and inclusive business models for adaptive transformation in Bangladesh polders CLIM/2021/137Bangladesh
 International Mungbean Improvement Network 2 CROP/2019/144Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Kenya
Managing wheat blast in Bangladesh: Identification and introgression of wheat blast resistance for rapid varietal development and dissemination CROP/2020/165Bangladesh
Accelerating genetic gain in wheat through hybrid breeding in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Pakistan CROP/2020/167Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Pakistan
Additive intercropping in wide row crops for resilient crop production in Bangladesh, Bhutan and lndia CROP/2022/111Bangladesh, India
 Sundarban ecosystem management FST/2022/123Bangladesh
Resource dependency in the Sundarban ECA FST/2023/177Bangladesh
Livestock Systems
 Operationalising a global animal health governance network for policy impact LS/2022/143Bangladesh, Kenya, Philippines, Vietnam
Soil & Land Management
 Nutrient management for diversified cropping in Bangladesh LWR/2016/136Bangladesh
Developing and translating soil health information in Bangladesh with farmers and for farmers to build resilient agricultural systems SLAM/2021/107Bangladesh
Assessment of the adoption and adaptation of conservation agriculture and direct seeded rice in South and South-East Asia SLAM/2022/172Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Philippines, Vietnam
 Cropping system intensification in the salt-affected coastal zones of Bangladesh and West Bengal, India LWR/2014/073Bangladesh, India
Transforming smallholder food systems in the Eastern Gangetic Plain WAC/2020/148Bangladesh, India, Nepal
Current and projected hydrological trends in the sundarbans mangrove forest and their impacts on ecology and ecosystem services: a scoping study WAC/2022/129Bangladesh


Regional Manager, South Asia

Dr Pratibha Singh

Research Program Managers

an illustration of a computer with the ACIAR logo in its centre


More information about our projects is available on the ACIAR website. Search for the project title or project code.


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