Our research program

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The ACIAR research structure focuses on nine programs of work. These programs cover key agriculture sectors (Crops, Livestock Systems, Fisheries, Forestry and Horticulture), the science needed to sustain the resource base (Soil and Land Management, and Water and Climate) and disciplines that generate economic and social benefits (Agribusiness and Social Sciences).


Unlocking economic opportunities for farmers

The Agribusiness program works to improve business outcomes for smallholder farmers, communities and industries. It involves research at all points along the agricultural, forestry and fisheries value chains, including inputs, production and harvest, and post-harvest activities of packaging, transport and storage, processing, marketing and sales.

31 ACIAR projects, $5.97 million invested, 9.7% of ACIAR project investment


Cultivating productive and sustainable crops

The Crops program aims to increase the productivity and sustainability of major crops by exploring improved varieties and new crop management methods. The program is built on two complementary themes of genetics and sustainable intensification and diversification.

22 ACIAR projects, $6.01 million invested, $9.8% of ACIAR project investment


Building productive aquatic farming systems and sustainable fisheries

The Fisheries program brokers research partnerships to improve food security and fishers’ livelihoods through productive aquatic farming systems and sustainable wild-catch fisheries. It aims to improve human health and wellbeing by making food systems and policies more nutrition-sensitive.

24 ACIAR projects, $7.72 million invested, 12.5% of ACIAR project investment


Scientific support to establish, manage and sustainably use forests

The Forestry program contributes to conservation and rehabilitation of natural resources to establish, manage and sustainably use forests. This provides social, economic and environmental benefits to partner countries and Australia.

26 ACIAR projects, $7.27 million invested into agricultural research projects, 11.8% of ACIAR project investment


Improving fruit, vegetable and ornamental crop production

The Horticulture program aims to improve the productivity, profitability and sustainability of fruit, vegetable, ornamental and beverage crops in developing countries to improve livelihoods and deliver safe, nutritious food.

18 ACIAR projects, $8.14 million invested in projects, 13.2% of ACIAR project investment

Livestock Systems

Developing more productive, profitable and sustainable livestock systems

The Livestock Systems program brokers research partnerships to 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, looking at animal health and production technologies within the broader sociocultural, gender, policy and economic contexts.

40 ACIAR projects, $11.2 million invested into projects, 18.2% of ACIAR project investment

Social Sciences

Putting people at the centre of agricultural research-for-development

The Social Sciences program takes a people-centred approach to agricultural research-for-development to reduce poverty. Demographic issues such as gender, age, education, income, assets and distance to market are considered in project design to ensure equitable development.

18 ACIAR projects, $4.23 million invested into projects, 6.9% of ACIAR project investment

Soil and Land Management

Introducing conservation agriculture

The Soil and Land Management program aims to help smallholders boost productivity through sustainable use of limited resources in a changing climate. Ensuring that agricultural production is sustainable and benefits smallholder farmers is a key challenge for long-term food security.

22 ACIAR projects, $4.94 million invested in projects, 7.3% of ACIAR project investment

Water and Climate

Improving agricultural water management through innovative approaches

The Water and Climate program addresses the challenge of efficient, sustainable water use to support agricultural production in the context of increasingly uncertain climate, competition from other sectors and declining water quality. During 2019-20, ACIAR developed a new Climate Change program, so that from 1 July 2020 there were separate research programs on Water and Climate Change.

28 ACIAR projects, $6.60million invested in projects, 10.7% of ACIAR project investment

NOTE: Charts will not always reflect the sum of total projects per program as it shows projects by region. If a project is in multiple regions, it will be counted for each region.

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