Australia’s support to the agricultural sector in Sub-Saharan Africa aims to enhance agricultural productivity and food security to promote growth and improve livelihoods. Australia has invested in the research and adoption of new technologies that address food availability, access and nutrition-related challenges for poor rural farmers. Our investments have focused on areas where Australia has comparative technical, research and agri-business expertise such as in dry land farming and biosecurity.
Australia has supported investments that boost private sector activity in agriculture, and improve the functioning of markets and agricultural value chains. Australia works with both public and private sector organisations from across Africa and Australia, including research bodies, agri-business, financial service providers and non-government organisations.
Our assistance in the agricultural sector aligns with the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program, which is an African owned and led initiative to boost agricultural productivity.
The Australian aid program supports a number of other investments that contribute to progress in the agriculture sector, including the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) and AgResults, which support programs in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) supports agricultural productivity projects focusing on increasing agricultural productivity through farming systems intensification, diversification and improved market access.
DFAT- CSIRO Africa Food Security Initiative
$35 million, 2010-2017
Australia has been supporting enhanced agricultural productivity in Africa since 2010 through the national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
In East Africa, CSIRO partners with the Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA) research hub in Nairobi. The partnership strengthens the capacity of the hub and of African scientists in using modern biosciences for food and nutritional security. Some of the projects undertaken by this partnership include promoting adoption and commercialisation of highly nutritious crops such as the vegetable and grain amaranth, addressing aflatoxin contamination in maize, developing vaccines and sustainable control strategies for livestock diseases.
Australia also invests in the Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund managed under the CSIRO-BecA partnership. This fund enables African researchers to visit and undertake cutting edge research for periods of three to twelve months at the BecA hub.
African Enterprise Challenge Fund: Research into Business Window
$33 million, 2012-2019
Australia is supporting the multi-donor Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) which is focused on making markets work for the poor. The Fund is working to spur entrepreneurs and companies in Africa to develop innovative, commercially viable and practical business ideas that could have a positive impact on rural livelihoods and incomes.
Australia funded two rounds of AECF. The first round of a ‘Research into Business’ window aims to support business ideas that can take research discoveries and make them commercially viable. The Research into Business window aims to benefit 750,000 households by strengthening agribusiness market systems in order to benefit the poor, 60 per cent of whom are living on less than US$2 per day. Secondly, Australia’s aid program has also supported a funding window for Zimbabwe, which funded 28 agribusiness and financial service projects that have benefited about 280,000 households directly through the creation of 1,200 new jobs and indirectly through increased farm productivity and incomes.