Teagasc Invest for the Future
19 July 2007
Teagasc is embarking on an ambitious capital investment and staff re-sourcing plan to ensure that the agriculture and food sectors play their part in the knowledge economy.
Teagasc acting director Tom Kirley said: “Centres of Excellence in Animal Science, Crop Science, Environment and Land Use, Rural Research and Food for Health, are currently being established. A very significant capital investment programme costing €27 million is being undertaken together with the recruitment of additional research staff. The programmes seek to harvest advances made possible by developments in science - and in the biosciences in particular - for the benefit of Irish agriculture and Irish society generally.”
Mr Kirley was addressing the 16th International Farm Management Congress that is taking place in Cork this week, from 15 – 20 July. The theme of this international congress is ‘A Vibrant Rural Economy – The Challenge for Balance’, with contributions from speakers from all over the world. National and international delegates are participating in a series of conferences in UCC and study tours around the country.
In a paper entitled ‘New Opportunities in a Global Policy Environment’ Tom Kirley warned that policy changes will result in an increase in the volatility of markets on prices and the impact of disruption in supplies, or of surpluses on prices. He said: “Farmers will have to accept this volatility; in many countries previously accustomed to controlled supplies and markets, farmers and agribusiness will have to build this risk into the financial planning of their farms and businesses. For the first time in nearly 50 years, the policies in regions such as the EU will not have as their core objective the containment or reduction in food output. The market place will carry out this task for them in its own way and probably lead to more frequent periods of boom or burst along the way.
Tom Kirley pointed out that after years of neglect the EU has rediscovered that advisory services are a necessary infrastructure to support the change process that is going on at farm level. He said: “It is vital that advisory services do not allow themselves get overly involved in problems associated with compliance with regulations. Rather they must concentrate on the application of technology, especially the developments from the advances in biotechnology and ICT, to farm businesses to improve the efficiency of production.”