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Irish Aid and Teagas sign agreement on research, training and cooperation in Africa

Budget/funding, News/feature, Africa, 2015

Irish Aid and Teagasc sign agreement on research, training, and cooperation in Africa

The Minister for Development, Trade Promotion, and North South Cooperation, Seán Sherlock, TD, today signed a landmark agreement which will harness Teagasc’s expertise in research and development to fight hunger and boost agricultural production in the developing world.

The new agreement between Irish Aid, the Government’s programme for overseas development, and Teagasc will increase cooperation between Teagasc and national agricultural research institutions in Irish Aid’s Key Partner Countries in Africa.

 It will enable Irish Aid to harness Teagasc’s knowledge, expertise and experience in agriculture and research to help farmers to increase their yields of quality crops in countries including Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania. 

Speaking at Teagasc’s Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, in Fermoy, Co. Cork, Minister Sherlock said:

“Ireland is a longstanding advocate of using cutting edge agricultural research and development to support farmers in some of the world’s most challenging environments to increase their yields and the quality of their crops. This is critical in countries where up to eight in ten people depend on agriculture for their very survival.

“Research and innovation are vital for farmers everywhere. But a major challenge in increasing agricultural productivity in Africa is getting the right knowledge to the people who need it, at the right time, in the right way.

“By teaming up with Teagasc, Irish Aid can harness their skills, research, and expertise, and share this knowledge with Ireland’s key partner countries through our development programme.

“Productive and sustainable agriculture practices will be crucial to meeting challenges of climate change, food security, and eradicating hunger.

“In particular, climate change poses enormous risks in developing countries, which are extremely vulnerable to famine, droughts, and flooding. We have seen this clearly with the recent flood in Malawi.

 “Drawing on strengths of Irish Aid and Teagasc, I believe we can offer valuable assistance to our African partners in translating their vision for the future of agriculture in their countries into a reality.

“Together Irish Aid and Teagasc can go the last mile and bring agricultural research and knowledge, into the field and make it work.”

Minister Sherlock signed the agreement today with Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc.

Press Office
20 February 2015

Notes to editors:

  • Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas development programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • Teagasc – the Agriculture and Food Development Authority – is the national body providing integrated research, advisory and training services to the agriculture and food industry and rural communities.
  • Support for improving the productivity of smallholder agriculture to combat hunger is a central priority of the Irish Aid programme and is a priority recommendation of the Government-commissioned Hunger Task Force Report of 2008.
  • The Irish Aid programme’s support for agriculture assigns special importance to agricultural development practices which are nutrition-sensitive, climate-smart and gender-sensitive. Irish Aid works through national agriculture systems in partner countries in a multi-sectoral approach, and globally in cooperation with other development partners.
  • The envisaged areas of collaboration are:
    i. scientific technical advice for CGIAR and EIARD meetings, as required
    ii. technical support and advice to Irish Aid programme engagement in agricultural extension services in Tanzania
    iii. capacity building relationships with national agricultural research and knowledge transfer institutions in Irish Aid Key Partner Countries and in other Partner Countries.
    iv. identification of possible areas in which the Irish agricultural research sector can become involved with CGIAR research centres and research programmes and take steps to realise such potential linkages.
    v. other work agreed by the Director of Teagasc and the Director General of Development Cooperation Division.