Agriculture, fisheries and water

2017-18 Budget Estimate:
$339.5 million

The agriculture and fisheries sectors provide livelihoods for millions of workers, particularly in rural areas, and underpin food security and nutrition. Productivity will need to increase significantly to meet expanding global food demand, especially in the Indo-Pacific region. At the same time, water resources are coming under competing pressures from agriculture, industry, electricity generation, growing urban populations and the impacts of climate variability. Overfishing practices threaten the long term sustainability and profitability of global and regional fisheries.

Optimising the potential of agriculture, fisheries and water for economic development, while ensuring sustainable use of resources for long term prosperity, is one of the biggest challenges facing our region. Australia is supporting agricultural productivity, sustainable fisheries management and water resource management, and is addressing impediments that prevent producers linking effectively into domestic and international markets.

Strategy for Australia’s aid investments in agriculture, fisheries and water

The Strategy for Australia’s aid investments in agriculture, fisheries and water (February 2015) outlines the overarching rationale, objectives and priorities for the Australian aid program’s investments in these sectors which, together, comprise one of the six priority areas outlined in Australia’s development policy.

The Strategy applies to aid investments managed by DFAT, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and other Australian government agencies delivering Official Development Assistance (ODA) in the agriculture, fisheries and water sectors. It will help ensure the Government’s aid investments in these sectors align with and support the Government’s new aid paradigm and broader economic diplomacy efforts. Innovative and catalytic use of Australia’s aid and expertise in agriculture, fisheries and water – particularly through leveraging private sector partnerships and investment – is a key focus of the Strategy.

Under the Strategy, Australia's aid investments in agriculture, fisheries and water will ‘promote prosperity, reduce poverty and enhance stability’ through contributions to both private sector development and human development. Aid investments will continue to be an appropriate mix of bilateral, regional and global investments. The Government's efforts in these sectors will seek to:

  • increase contributions to national economic output
  • increase incomes of poor people, and
  • enhance food, nutrition and water security.

To meet these core objectives, the Government will prioritise its efforts in three areas:

  • Strengthening markets: To help increase small-scale farmers and fishers’ participation in markets and address constraints to agri-food business, including by leveraging private sector investment and innovation (with an emphasis on women’s economic empowerment).
  • Innovating for productivity and sustainable resource use: To improve productivity along food and agriculture value chains and promote more efficient and sustainable use of natural resources, using international and Australian research and expertise.
  • Promoting effective policy, governance and reform: To assist partner countries achieve more effective policy settings to promote sustainable and inclusive growth and open trade, and improve the enabling environment for business, investment and innovation.

Strategy for Australia’s aid investments in agriculture, fisheries and water

Further information

How Australia is providing assistance on agriculture, fisheries and water issues can be found at:



Last Updated: 9 May 2017