“The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has worked with Africa since the early 90s. The mode of operation of ACIAR is always to put together as partners scientists in Australia with scientists in Africa to work together on a common problem. Out of that emerges long- term relationships, long-term work that extends way beyond the life of any particular project.
And of course Australia and Africa have so much in common in terms of agricultural production. The soils, the rainfall, the variability and the risk from climate, cattle diseases, poor soils, distance to markets, so much is common between both countries that we have much to do in science partnerships.
Australia’s Prime Minister recently announced additional assistance for Africa in the form of a new Australian International Centre for Food Security.
The new Centre will give farmers, government agencies and the private sector access to expertise and other support from a large network of Australian, African and international research bodies.
ACIAR will lead the Centre, for which the Government is providing $36 million. As a first step, in 2012, it will organize an international conference on Food Security in Africa: Bridging Research and Practice.
Clearly it will look at increasing productivity and reducing vulnerability for households. In the next 6 months we will hold extensive consultations with African leaders to ascertain the exact focus of this new food security centre.”