Who we are

Our mission is to accelerate the delivery and adoption of research innovations for food security.

The Australian International Food Security Research Centre (AIFSRC) is an Australian Government initiative that sits within the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). The former Prime Minister, the Hon. Julia Gillard, announced the establishment of the AIFSRC to strengthen the Australian Government’s contribution to global food security at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in October 2011.

A strategy for the AIFSRC has been developed for the 10-year period 2012–2022. It identifies the scope and most effective areas of focus to deliver greatest impact for food security and the operations and delivery mechanisms to achieve these. The strategy is our response to and builds on the priorities, gaps and research capabilities identified through consultations with Australian, African and international stakeholders.

Download the AIFSC strategy (File size 4.2 MB)

The AIFSRC Strategy was strongly endorsed at its formal launch at an international conference Food Security in Africa: Bridging Research and Practice in Sydney on 30 November 2012. Read more about the conference.

The AIFSRC has an international focus, recognising the significance of food security to developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Pacific region. However, initial focus has been given to advancing food security in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Centre’s priorities align with the African Union’s Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP) framework, which highlights that the agricultural sector must grow on average by 6% per year to play its role in Africa’s development and the alleviation of poverty.

Through a strong relationship with FARA, the Centre is also supporting regional research priorities. FARA is an apex organisation bringing together and forming coalitions of major stakeholders in agricultural research and development in Africa, and working to develop an African Agricultural Science Agenda.

Our goal is to help smallholder farmers and other poor households access sufficient, accessible and nutritious food.

The AIFSRC will make a unique contribution to addressing our goal through providing a bridge between agricultural research innovations (technologies, policies and practices) and development to accelerate their adoption. We will achieve this through developing a better understanding of the incentives and barriers to adoption by smallholder farmers, including livestock keepers.

The AIFSRC will also aim to facilitate an economic and policy environment that overcomes barriers to market access. It will give new attention to better food utilisation, so as to increase the nutritional quality of food consumed and to reduce loss of food after harvest. The AIFSRC will also focus on education and building capacity in the responsible national institutions and in individuals, recognising the impacts of gender in African smallholder food systems.

Our research priority areas aim to improve the opportunities and access to innovations for food security by women and men. They are:

  • Improving sustainable productivity in farming systems, including better natural resources management, and enabling policies to enhance productivity
  • Better market access for smallholder farmers, generating income for smallscale producers from cash crops, trees, livestock products and other rural enterprises to enable poor people to purchase food, strengthening market-related policy and socio-economic research including value chains
  • Improving nutrition, increasing diversity in diets, reducing post harvest loss, improving food safety and value adding to food post-farm gate
  • Promoting innovative access to information and knowledge, evidence-based policy adoption and foresight knowledge sharing
  • Educating, training and building capacity of relevant individuals and institutions.

We are engaging and forging new partnerships with a broad range of national and international organisations, from researchers and policy makers, the public and private sectors, community groups, to farmer organisations and civil society. The Centre has a mandate to adopt new ways of working with providers and donors to improve the uptake of agricultural research innovations and forge new partnerships and programs, including through competitive calls for research proposals

The Centre seeks to leverage Australian aid dollars through co-investment and partnerships with like-minded donors for the greatest impact on food security in Africa. CultiAF is partnership with Canada’s Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) providing a competitive research grant program. The AIFSRC also has an alliance with Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture and The Crawford Fund which aims to use innovative collaborations, approaches and project delivery methods to drive greater gains in agricultural development by small holder farmers in Africa. Read more about the alliance.

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