Business partnerships in agriculture, fisheries and water

The Australian Government’s aid program has built a strong portfolio of multi-partner collaboration and investment in agriculture, fisheries and water management over a number of years.

In these sectors, DFAT works closely with its portfolio partner, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

Our focus is to develop solutions that actively bring the poor and underserved into global and regional supply chains in ways that generate long-term, commercially sustainable outcomes.

Some current initiatives include:

Through the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, Australia is partnering with the International Finance Corporation to support innovative private sector financing solutions aimed at realising the commercial potential of agribusinesses and farmers in the Asia-Pacific region.

Australia (with Canada, the UK, the US and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) is a core partner in AgResults, a G20 initiative driving private sector-led agricultural development, research and delivery for smallholder farmers by rewarding businesses for achieving pre-defined development results.

Australia is a foundation partner in Grow Asia, a new initiative of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the ASEAN Secretariat, which aims to increase sustainable and inclusive agricultural development and food security by unlocking new private sector investment and supporting regional cooperation. Bringing together business, government and civil society, Grow Asia will link small-scale farmers in ASEAN economies to regional and global markets.

Australia’s Market Development Facility (MDF), which is now operating in Fiji, Timor-Leste, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka, is addressing market constraints in sectors with high potential to spur growth and benefit the poor, including horticulture, agribusiness, export processing, tourism, manufacturing, meat, dairy and leather. To date, MDF’s 60 active business partnerships have leveraged more than US$ 3.7 million worth of private sector investments, and are on track to increase incomes for an estimated 16,000 people.

Staff at the launch of upgraded premises for Essence of Fiji
Staff at the launch of upgraded premises for Essence of Fiji, a Market Development Facility (MDF) partner which is a local producer of spa products.

Australian aid funding is harnessing the power of African businesses to improve farming livelihoods through a $33 million contribution to the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund. The fund is focused on making markets work for the poor, encouraging private sector innovation, and commercialisation of agricultural technologies that benefit smallholder farmers.

Australia has established the Australian Water Partnership (AWP) in response to growing water challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. The AWP will connect Australian public and private sector expertise in water management to demand from partner countries and multilateral agencies.

DFAT is partnering with Water Stewardship Australia (WSA) to work collaboratively with Australian companies on addressing water-related issues to ensure new business ventures in developing countries are pursued in a sustainable way and meet customer expectations in terms of responsible use of natural resources.

Australia’s enhanced support for regional fisheries management in the Pacific will further underpin direct commercial returns to island countries, now reaching $350 million per annum. The Government is providing commissioned analysis to identify new technologies, industry trends and investment options to enhance island country management and participation in the sector.

Worker cutting up fish
At a facility in Marché de Nouméa, New Caledonia, albacore tuna is processed to high safety and hygiene standards for consumption. (Photo: Courtesy of the Forum Fisheries Agency.)

The Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Program (PHAMA) is being funded by both the Australian and New Zealand aid programs through to 2017. Core countries assisted through PHAMA include Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. PHAMA helps exporters in Pacific Island countries to meet the standards and requirements of importing countries.

The Australia-Indonesia Partnership for Rural Economic Development (AIPD - Rural) is a suite of programs working to improve smallholder farmers’ access to new markets, better inputs, technology, know-how, irrigation and small loans. Its goal is to achieve a 30 per cent increase in the incomes of 1 million smallholder farmers in Eastern Indonesia by 2022. This is done through co-investing in new business models with local, regional, national and international market players to boost agricultural competitiveness.

Working in partnership with Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), the Government is improving productivity along food and agriculture supply chains and building demand from consumers for ethically-sourced products. DFAT has a four-year $4.5 million partnership with Fairtrade ANZ. The partnership supports Fairtrade ANZ to build demand in the Australian domestic retail market for ethical and sustainable products, and builds the capacity of smallholder producers in the region to supply products.

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has a long track record working with the private sector in agricultural research. Brokering high-payoff partnerships with private companies and enterprises in support of Australia’s foreign policy objectives is a core capability for ACIAR. ACIAR offers the private sector strong partnerships built on trust, transparency, complementarity and mutual benefit that enable greater innovation in research for development and, as a result, direct and indirect benefits to the economies of developing countries and Australia. ACIAR has four key contributions to make to these partnerships: (1) high quality research along value chains; (2) delivering impacts from agricultural research; (3) networks; and (4) credibility.

Read more about DFAT’s investment priorities: Agriculture, fisheries and water

Last Updated: 10 November 2016
Farmer tending to crops

“We are indeed very happy to work with FarmPro as he buys from our farm gate and we can earn money every week.”

Small-scale farmer Nelson da Costa, commenting on MDF Partner, FarmPro.