Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
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 Australia’s specialist international agricultural research for development (R4D) agency.
Many studies around the world over many years 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. ACIAR works primarily with countries of the Indo-Pacific region through bilateral and multilateral research partnerships that benefit the rural poor, consumers, researchers and policymakers. Australian farmers, agribusinesses and researchers also benefit tangibly through, for example, knowledge and technology exchange and building linkages that can foster future trade relationships.
Partnerships between ACIAR and its partner countries generate new ideas and new insights, adding to productivity and prosperity and building networks and connections that last a lifetime and change lives.
Research that works for the Philippines
ACIAR has been working with the Philippine Government, research and academic institutions, private sector and civil society partners in agricultural research for development (R4D) for more than 35 years. Since 1983, ACIAR has invested more than AUD150 million in over 220 projects across the following key research areas: agribusiness, crops, fisheries, forestry, horticulture, livestock, portfolio planning and impact evaluation, social sciences, soil and land management, and water and climate.
The agriculture sector, which accounts for about 10% of the Philippines’ national income, employs an estimated 11 million people (almost one-third of the labour force), is a supplier of raw materials for the manufacturing sector, and is a food source for the population.
ACIAR’s support to the Philippines focuses on research to make agricultural products more productive, marketable and internationally competitive, and to build resilience of smallholder farmers, fishers and their households from impacts of natural disasters and climate change, including external shocks such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Higher-value products and market competitiveness would improve food security by enabling smallholder farmers and traders to increase their income and their access to other basic services and economic opportunities.
Partnerships in the Philippines
The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) is the main government partner of ACIAR in the Philippines on scientific and technical cooperation for agriculture, aquatic and natural resources, which involves significant co-investments and expanding partnerships, including with the private sector, on research, capacity building and impact evaluation.
Research projects are carried out by Australian and Filipino researchers, extension officers and other partners from national agencies and local governments, non-government organisations (NGOs), academia, industry and farmer collaborators.
Research focus in the Philippines
Over the last decade, most of ACIAR’s research initiatives have been concentrated in Mindanao and Visayas, where low productivity, natural resource degradation, high poverty incidence, and vulnerability to climate variability and disasters represent more serious constraints to agricultural development than in other regions. ACIAR also maintains strong linkages with research experts and policymakers in Manila and Los Baños.
ACIAR’s research strategy and priorities in the Philippines are identified in consultation with key government research agencies, and other stakeholders from the local government, academia, farmer organisations and the private sector.
As of November 2020, ACIAR’s Philippines program has 18 ongoing projects focused on the following research areas:
- Market competiveness of fruits and vegetables: involves improving the production and quality of high value vegetables, and the domestic and export value chains for tropical fruits (banana, mango, papaya, durian and jackfruit) from production through to postharvest handling and processing, to respond to market needs and opportunities.
- Soil and land management: aims to identify constraints and develop cost-effective strategies for soil and nutrient management, improving crop nutrition, and preventing further land degradation while providing agricultural enterprise opportunities for upland communities and local governments.
- Fisheries and aquaculture production: aims to develop and refine of technologies for the culture and grow-out of high-value marine species (groupers and sea cucumbers) using approaches that are adapted to the needs of coastal communities. Work is also being done to restore damaged coral reefs to improve fish catch and enhance coastal biodiversity.
- Technology adoption and extension: tests and evaluates how certain types of community-based extension methods can be implemented to enhance agriculture-based livelihoods in conflict-affected areas in the southern and western Philippines.
- Biosecurity enhancement: evaluates and tests diseases in plants and animals to improve quality of production
ACIAR project sites in Luzon are located in Pangasinan; in the Visayas in Samar, Leyte, Bohol, Iloilo; and in Mindanao in Davao City, Davao del Sur and Davao del Norte, Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, North and South Cotabato, Zamboanga Sibugay and Maguindanao.
Training and capacity building
Building capacity in partner countries is a key priority for ACIAR to extend and maximise the adoption of new knowledge and technologies. ACIAR’s partnership model ensures that partner countries have input into and ownership of research priorities and the delivery of research programs. The result is innovative and lasting local solutions that aim to bring choice and change to those who need it most. For over 35 years of partnership with the Philippine Government, ACIAR has supported more than 67 alumni of John Allwright Fellowship and John Dillon Fellowship who are now taking an active part in solving pressing and multifaceted issues in agriculture, food security, market access, value chains, natural resources management and climate change. ACIAR’s capacity-building programs are evolving to have a greater focus on leadership and career development through various short- and medium-term support for current scholars and alumni.
For more information on ACIAR projects and activities in the Philippines, please visit http://aciar.gov.au/country/philippines or contact:
Assistant Country Manager
updated: November 2020
ACIAR IN THE PHILIPPINES
RESTORING CORAL REEFS AND FOOD SECURITY IN THE PHILIPPINES
SUPPORTING FILIPINO RESEARCHERS
STOPPING PANAMA DISEASE IN BANANA PLANTATIONS
FARMING COMMUNITIES AND RESEARCHERS WORKING TOGETHER IN BILIRAN