Home' Partners : Partners: Innovative partnerships Contents T he Australian Centre for International
Agricultural Research (ACIAR) is the
Australian Government's specialist
agency. In its role as an 'honest broker', ACIAR
builds partnerships to generate new knowledge
and innovations that underpin improved
agricultural productivity, sustainability and food-
system resilience in the Indo-Pacific region.
This is my first Partners editorial since being
appointed Chief Executive Officer of ACIAR by
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. It is an honour and
a privilege to join such a wonderful organisation
with a vital mandate and blessed with highly
committed, expert and professional staff and a rich
network of partners in Australia and the region.
The stories in this issue of Partners magazine
attest to the vital importance of our partnerships
in benefiting the region, including Australia.
Some 70% of ACIAR's investments are channelled
through bilateral projects---partnerships between
Australian research organisations and about 60
developing country partners in the past three
decades. These projects deliver significant benefits.
A recent evaluation found that 103 projects
(accounting for $151 million of ACIAR investment)
realised benefits of at least $2.4 billion.
Our partnerships support Australia's national
interests in many different ways.
Agricultural research for development
contributes directly to regional peace and security,
providing an effective and inclusive route to the
aid goals of enhanced prosperity and reduced
ISSUE THREE 2016 PARTNERS
poverty. Economic prosperity in neighbouring
countries also has spillover benefits for Australia:
stronger economies in the region offer new trade,
investment and business opportunities.
Biosecurity research delivers direct benefits
for Australia by managing risks before they reach
the Australian continent. This issue of Partners
highlights this with a story about an ACIAR-
supported animal health project in the Philippines
that is innovating management of the major
respiratory diseases affecting Australian pigs. These
diseases cause significant economic losses in
Australia and wherever pigs are intensively raised.
We show how the Australian pig industry has
benefited from this ACIAR investment.
Other benefits include new technology and
scientific capacity. Many of our partnership
activities build new science capabilities in Australia
and partner countries. Multi-partner projects
provide fertile ground for informal skill sharing and
mentoring, and contribute to formal and informal
networking across disciplines and cultures, as our
story about Scope Global illustrates.
Since 2014, the innovative alliance between
ACIAR and Scope Global has played a role in
cultivating early-career researchers, providing
professional development opportunities and
laying the foundations for a positive future for
agricultural development aid work in our region
and for research capacity in Australia through
Several ACIAR projects over many years have
benefited from the placement of Australian
Government-funded volunteers through
the Australian Volunteers for International
Development program. These strategic volunteer
placements focus on economic development
opportunities related to agricultural development,
links with the private sector, and inclusiveness,
specifically the empowerment of women and girls.
ACIAR's partnerships are built on strong
people-to-people linkages, trust, transparency
and mutual benefit. They are managed by a
highly experienced, skilful and professional team.
They have brought regional and international
respect for ACIAR, and for Australia, and represent
an integral part of the government's economic
diplomacy strategy in the Indo-Pacific region.
For example, our story about the global cocoa
industry highlights how ACIAR, with help from
the Queensland Department of Agriculture and
Fisheries (Queensland DAF), has helped Australian
cocoa farmers to train their cocoa trees onto
trellises---an idea borrowed from producers of
temperate fruits such as apples and cherries.
Trellising can increase productivity and open
the way to at least partial mechanisation, as
well as reduce the vulnerability of the trees to
cyclone damage. ACIAR and Queensland DAF are
evaluating and promoting the use of trellising with
partners in smaller Pacific islands, such as Vanuatu,
as part of a broader effort to increase the resilience
of the region's economies to extreme weather.
Innovation is the key to agricultural
development and economic growth, and ACIAR
seeks and promotes innovation through its
ACIAR PROJECTS PROVIDE
FERTILE GROUND FOR SKILL
SHARING AND MENTORING,
AND CONTRIBUTE TO
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