Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Mr Joe McHugh TD, and TEAGASC Director Professor Gerry Boyle, today signed an agreement to renew the partnership between Irish Aid and TEAGASC, to enhance Ireland’s contribution to Global Agriculture Development.
This agreement aims to further strengthen the ongoing collaboration between Irish Aid and TEAGASC, which in recent years has grown to include collaboration both at the national and global levels and in a number of Ireland’s development partner countries, including Mozambique, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Kenya and Tanzania. The new agreement is framed by the Sustainable Development Goals, and aims to contribute to the achievement of those goals particularly related to ending poverty and hunger. The agreement brings together Irish Aid’s development expertise with TEAGASC’s extensive expertise in agriculture research and knowledge transfer combining the skills and experience of the two Government bodies to achieve a common goal.
Speaking at the signing today, Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Mr Joe McHugh TD said:
“Irish Aid is committed to supporting developing countries to end poverty and hunger. Recognising that in many of the least developed countries the agriculture sector is, and is likely to remain, the key provider of people’s livelihoods, it is essential that our development programmes help improve the performance and delivery of the sector.
“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 and in the right way.
“By teaming up with Teagasc, we in Irish Aid can harness our skills, research, and expertise, and share this knowledge with Ireland’s key partner countries through our development cooperation programme.
“Productive and sustainable agriculture practices will be crucial to meeting the 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.
“We see this partnership as good example of cross government collaboration, essential to ensuring that we meet our sustainable development goals both domestically and internationally.
Professor Gerry Boyle, Director, Teagasc commented that:
“As the national body responsible for agricultural research and knowledge transfer in Ireland, Teagasc has a responsibility to support the national effort aimed at strengthening agricultural development and reducing hunger and under-nutrition in under-developed countries.” He said that “this objective is best pursued by aligning and coordinating our efforts and resources with those of the Irish Aid Programme”.
He welcomed the signing of the MoU “as a major step in ensuring that Teagasc’s knowledge, expertise and commitment to international agricultural development can have a more focused impact on addressing the challenge of food security in developing countries.”
Previous achievements under the collaboration include research and provision of support for potato production by smallholder farmers in Ethiopia, and training of Ministry of Agriculture staff from Kenya and Ethiopia. The collaboration also worked to establish the Irish Forum for International Agricultural Development (IFIAD) bringing together all national stakeholders involved in international agriculture. There is a growing recognition and appreciation of Teagasc’s research and expertise and under this new agreement a number of additional countries will benefit from this collaboration.
Notes to the editor
Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for overseas development. It is a division of the Department of Foreign Affairs. For further information see www.irishaid.ie.
The purpose of the collaboration is to strengthen Ireland’s overall contribution to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals of ending poverty and hunger, bringing together the respective expertise and experience of the two organisations.
The MoU signed today sets out key areas for collaboration:
i. Technical support and advice to Irish Aid programme engagement in agricultural research, extension and education services.
ii. Capacity building relationships with national agricultural research and knowledge transfer institutions in Irish Aid Key Partner Countries and in other Partner Countries.
iii. Identification of possible areas in which the Irish agricultural research sector can contribute to global agriculture development.
This MoU is based on a revision to the previous MoU that ran from 2015 – 2016. Areas of collaboration under the previous MoU included provision of technical expertise to Irish Aid; the establishment of the Irish Forum of International Agriculture Development (IFIAD) and partnerships with Agricultural Ministries and partners in Ireland’s Key Partner Countries.