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ACIAR and the 2018-19 Federal Budget

The 2018-19 Federal Budget, presented on 8 May 2018, has allocated $107.5 million to the Australian Centre for International Research (ACIAR) to contribute to poverty reduction and improved livelihoods, through more productive and sustainable agriculture emerging from collaborative international research. An additional $17.7 million will be sourced from external funding partners, including the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

ACIAR’s mandate is to amplify the impact of Australia’s outstanding capabilities in agricultural science by brokering and funding agricultural research for development partnerships in developing countries. The agency works with public and private research institutions to improve the productivity and sustainability of agricultural systems and the resilience of food systems in partner countries.

ACIAR supports Australia’s national interests by contributing to sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction and enhanced regional stability, with a particular focus on economic diplomacy and women’s economic empowerment. ACIAR’s work aligns closely with Australia’s aid program, supporting research collaboration while emphasising human capacity building and private sector-led development, targeted at improved livelihoods in agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

Details on the full budget can be found via the Government’s Budget website.

ACIAR’s Portfolio Budget Statement is available via the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

ACIAR’s research portfolio covers crops, horticulture, livestock, fisheries, forestry, natural resources, water and climate, economics, policy and social sciences. Our work aims to contribute to poverty reduction and improved regional security in:

  • Papua New Guinea and Pacific island countries
  • East Asia
  • South and West Asia
  • Eastern and Southern Africa

ACIAR works to ensure that our research programs pay particular attention to ACIAR’s six strategic objectives:

  1. Food security and poverty reduction – Improving food security and reducing poverty among smallholder farmers and rural communities
  2. Natural resources and climate change – Managing natural resources and producing food more sustainably, adapting to climate variability and mitigating climate change
  3. Human health and nutrition – Enhancing human nutrition and reducing risks to human health
  4. Gender equity and women’s empowerment – Improving gender equity and empowerment of women and girls
  5. Inclusive value chains – Fostering more inclusive agrifood and forestry market chains, engaging the private sector where possible
  6. Capacity Building – Building scientific and policy capability within our partner countries

These objectives are consistent with the Australian Government’s aid policy and the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development.

Around 65 per cent of our research expenditure is implemented through bilateral arrangements between ACIAR and partner countries in the Indo-Pacific region. In 2018-19 ACIAR will focus on developing new long-term agreements for research collaboration with Papua New Guinea, the Pacific, Timor-Leste, the Philippines, Pakistan and Eastern and Southern Africa. In most countries and regions, these

agreements will put into effect a program of research collaboration that is more consolidated geographically and thematically. They will also detail the intent for co-investment by some countries. We will continue to maintain permanent representation in 10 countries.

As a part of our statutory mandate, ACIAR manages Australia’s investment in the global agricultural research system, chief among which is the CGIAR. ACIAR is a member of the CGIAR System Council and an observer on the System Management Board. ACIAR will strengthen our regional research support to other multilateral institutions, including the Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research

Institutions, the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International, the World Vegetable Centre and the Pacific Community to promote and support collaborative research initiatives that progress our six strategic objectives in the region.

ACIAR will grow its research co-investments with larger donors such as DFAT, the Canadian International Development Research Centre and Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture and seek to engage with other private sector donors where appropriate.