The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) invests in applied research to improve agricultural productivity and sustainability and food system resilience in developing countries.

ACIAR is an Australian Government statutory authority within the Foreign Affairs portfolio and is Australia’s specialist international agricultural research for development (R4D) agency.

We work primarily with countries of the Indo-Pacific region through bilateral and multilateral research partnerships. The beneficiaries of these programs include farmers, rural poor, consumers, researchers and policymakers.

Studies have consistently shown that improving farming systems and food security in developing countries delivers enormous social, economic and environmental benefits, and reduces threats to wider political stability and global security.  

Conservative reviews of ACIAR’s return on investment—including those estimated benefits to Australia—were estimated in 2012 present value terms to be $1,164m. Australian farmers, agribusinesses and researchers also benefit tangibly through, for example, knowledge and technology exchange, preventing or solving problems before they reach Australia, and building linkages that can foster future trade relationships.

From little things, big things grow: ACIAR’s funded research with the then WA Department of Conservation and Land Management from 1987 to 1995 in Indonesia and Australia formed the foundation of the current sandalwood industry in the Ord River irrigation area of the Kimberly is estimated to have delivered a $936 million benefit.

We work in developing countries in four regions:

  1. Papua New Guinea and Pacific Island countries
  2. East Asia
  3. South and West Asia
  4. Eastern and Southern Africa.

We also work multilaterally through our investment in International Agricultural Research Centres.

ACIAR was established by the passing of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research Act (ACIAR Act) in June 1982.

The ACIAR Amendment Act 2007 has made changes to the governance arrangements of ACIAR as part of the Government’s response to the Review of Corporate Governance of Statutory Authorities and Officeholders (Uhrig report).

The ACIAR Act, proclaimed as Act No. 9 of 1982, was described as ‘An Act to encourage research for the purpose of identifying, or finding solutions, to, agricultural problems of developing countries’.