Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, formally launched a new dairy project on 14th November in Nairobi which is being funded by the Irish Embassy in Kenya and will involve an Irish-Kenyan consortium working on a unique proof-of-concept project focusing on the roles of genetics and fodder in sustainable dairy farming in Kenya. The consortium is led by Teagasc, in partnership with its Kenyan counterpart, the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO). Project support will be provided by Self Help Africa, Sustainable Food Systems Ireland (SFSI) and Greenfield International.
The EU has formally approved a proposal for a dairy value chain project in Eritrea, led by Teagasc, and involving UCD, UCC, LUKE (Finland), Vita, Self Help Africa and a number of Eritrean institutions. The project will commence on 3rd February 2020 and will be funded for a 50-month period to the value of €4 million.
IFIAD Annual Conference 2019
The fourth annual conference of IFIAD was held at the Headquarters of the Dept. of Foreign Affairs and Trade , Iveagh House, on Wednesday, 23rd October, 2019. The theme for this year’s conference was ‘Food Systems and Sustainable Diets,’ and the keynote speaker at the event was the President of the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Mr Gilbert Houngbo.
A Teagasc expert was part of an Irish team that undertook a two-week mission in Tanzania in September focused on the livestock sector. Following the visit, the team prepared and submitted a detailed proposal to the Embassy in Dar-es-Salaam seeking funding of €3.9 million for a 60 month project on Greening the Dairy Value Chain in Tanzania: Institutional Relationships and Best-bet Innovations for Sustainable Milk Production. Funding for the visit and preparation of proposal was provided by the Embassy in Dar-es-Salaam.
Training in Residues and Toxin Analysis for Dairy and Meat Products
Two staff members of KALRO (Kenya) will visit Ashtown in June for two weeks of training in residues and toxin analysis for dairy and meat products. The training will support KALRO in establishing a new laboratory for residue and toxin analysis and is part of Teagasc’s ongoing support for capacity building in KALRO.
EU DeSIRA Call 2019
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has submitted three Irish proposals for final evaluation under the 2019 EU DeSIRA Call (Development of Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture). Two of the proposals are being led by Teagasc:
- Climate smart research and innovation for livestock development in Kenya with a focus on dairying.
- Climate resilient productive farming systems benefiting the nutrition and livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Kenya.
The aim of the first proposal is to bring about increased off take of high value livestock (dairy) products from production systems which are climate smart, profitable and sustainable and which contribute to improved gender equitable income and livelihoods for smallholder farmers through a focus on the use of transformative forage-based production systems and where the type of genetics used is designed for forage-based systems.
With a budget of €6.5m over five years, the proposal combines applied research (on-station and on-farm) with the establishment of an innovation support unit with a focus on getting knowledge on climate smart and profitable dairy production systems applied on farm. The implementation method is to collaborate with European science partners (INRA and LUKE) to deliver research into use through in-country research partners (KALRO and universities in Kenya) that are enabled and capacitated. The project will leverage the technical African expertise and experience of CGIAR partners (ILRI and ICRAF) while creating the link to communities through two NGO partners. The project will also actively engage with private sector stakeholders, including Brookside (Kenya’s largest milk processor), as they are critical to future scaling out.
The goal of the second proposal is to increase productivity and climate adaptability of potato in the East African highland agro-ecologies by improving seed potato systems and to create a multi-country support and knowledge sharing potato coalition for food and nutrition security. The purpose is to attain large-scale validation and implementation of sustainable approaches to optimise agricultural productivity and resilience of potato-based farming systems. The specific objectives are to:
- increase and accelerate access to climate smart potato varieties
- improve seed potato production and use of high quality seed
- improve farm resilience, productivity and income through smallholder adapted climate smart agronomic practices while maintaining and improving eco-system services
- strengthen national capacities to coordinate, utilize and disseminate knowledge and information on improved potato technologies for increased production.
The partners are:
- Wageningen University (NL)
- Binfen University (Germany)
- CIP (International Potato Research Centre)
- Egerton University and Kenyan Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization
- Debre Tabor University and the Ethiopian Institute for Agricultural Research
- National Agricultural Research Institute (Eritrea).
€1 million Irish Embassy funding for new dairy project
As part of the Ireland-Kenya Agri-Food Strategy 2017-2021, the Irish Embassy in Nairobi has committed €1 million over 30 months to a new dairy value chain project led by Teagasc. The resources received from the Embassy will allow Teagasc and partners to build a dairy production systems initiative aimed at transforming the livestock sector, and help build progress towards SDG targets on poverty, hunger/food security, climate change and ecosystem development. A particular focus will be on introduction of research-led innovations at the production level and along the value chain which will allow the industry to grow in a climate-smart, sustainable way.
The project will focus on the livestock sector and will build on existing initiatives within Kenya and with International Research Centres (ILRI and ICRAF). The link with International Centres will allow the project to align with applied livestock research in other parts of East Africa, specifically Tanzania, Ethiopia and Eritrea. The project will also seek to provide important enablers for national policy goals in breeding, improved value addition and industry skills development.
The goal of the project is to contribute to the knowledge and on-farm practice in the creation and implementation of innovative climate smart and economic production systems through the introduction of forage-based animal genetics and application and the use of novel climate smart forage feeding systems on-farm. To achieve the project’s goal of developing climate smart production systems that increase productivity and reduce greenhouse gases in a sustainable way, three key capability-building sub-objectives will be pursued:
- To develop a new cattle breeding programme with a focus on farm profitability through use of improved forages, which can mitigate emissions and improve resilience, including related capability-building in the national research system.
- To develop and demonstrate new improved systems of production (forage based) which can meet 90%+ of the animal’s dietary requirement from forage and which are resilient in terms of climate change.
- To develop an ‘Innovation Hub’ in support of the dairy value chain with a particular focus on innovation support on-farm and which can build capacity in forage-based production technology through existing extension networks and routes to lead farmers via external Innovation Nodes, located and facilitated by private sector processors, INGO’s, co-operatives and producer groups, with a specific focus on inclusion of women and young farmers.
Capability-building activities will focus on:
- Economic modelling and breeding programme development for the national research body and relevant county governments.
- Train-the-trainers – training of extension agents and lead farmers in forage production systems, forage quality and animal nutrition.
- Innovation support – build a lasting system and capability in KALRO for innovation transfer, knowledge dissemination and packaging of research outcomes for optimum uptake by farmers.
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