Diversification for Sustainable Food Systems in South Asia

A workshop focused on Diversification for Sustainable Food Systems in South Asia was held at ACIAR House in Canberra on the 10th and 11th December. The workshop brought together 30 researchers representing 10 research organisations from Australia and the CGIAR, including ACIAR Research Program Managers (Water and Climate Change, Crops, Horticulture, Livestock and Farming Systems) and regional staff; partners from the SDIP portfolio; and other researchers working in the Eastern Gangetic Plains (EGP). The workshop was held to share experience and expertise in promoting diversification of farming systems in the EGP region across a range of disciplines, scales and approaches, to understand the synergies and trade-offs across the work already being undertaken by ACIAR.  

Over two days, the meeting discussions showcased the ACIAR SDIP program, highlighted existing projects, and considered future research priorities that can contribute to the sustainable development of food systems in the EGP. Given the broad range of experience, the identified knowledge gaps were broad and included production dynamics; resource use and impacts; risk; knowledge sharing and adoption; and market arrangements.

Key themes for future work included technical research on diversified options for production that includes crop-livestock systems; farming systems research; resource constraints and dynamics; markets; options to improve information and knowledge sharing; linking this to adoption and implementation; and generating a better broader macroeconomic understanding of the region.

Importantly, potential links between current projects were also identified, and effort will be dedicated to following up on these to capitalise on existing knowledge, both in terms of technical options and processes for engaging with stakeholders.

Participants highlighted the benefits in coming together in person to better understand complementary work and identify links between projects. For the ACIAR SDIP program, this was a valuable opportunity to identify where there are links to existing work, and to consider priorities for future research priorities in the region.

For more information, please contact Tamara Jackson (tajackson@csu.edu.au).

(L-R) Dan Walker (ACIAR Chief Scientist), Dave Penton (CSIRO SDIP) and ACIAR Research Program Managers Sarina McFadyen (Farming Systems) and Irene Kernot (Horticulture) discuss options for diversification of farming systems in the EGP.

(L-R) Dan Walker (ACIAR Chief Scientist), Dave Penton (CSIRO SDIP) and ACIAR Research Program Managers Sarina McFadyen (Farming Systems) and Irene Kernot (Horticulture) discuss options for diversification of farming systems in the EGP.

NewsTamara Jackson