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April 2018

Update on AFER Project Ethiopia

Dr Lance O’Brien (HQ) and Dr David Wall (Johnstown Castle) visited Tigray in Ethiopia to evaluate progress of the three Walsh Fellowship PhD students working on the AFER Project and to plan a programme of work for the coming twelve months. They were accompanied by Professor Rogier Schulte (Wageningen) and Dr Steffen Schulz (GIZ-German Aid Agency).

During the visit, they met with the three Walsh Fellows, Mehretab Yohalashet, Gidera Reda and Kindu Aynalen, their supervisors in Mekelle and Bahir Dar universities and with Dr Abbadi Reda, Director of TARI (Tigray Agricultural Research Institute). Lance also held meetings in the Irish Embassy with the Ambassador and development staff.

The AFER Project

The AFER Project (Agricultural Fertility and Environmental Resources) aims to develop a prototype Decision Support Tool (DST) of relevance to smallholder farmers, for crop and soil specific nutrient advice, based on data that can easily (e.g. visually) be obtained in the field.

Inefficient use of nutrients, both organic and in the form of fertilizer, is one of the key constraints to sustainable intensification. Inefficiencies result from the limited availability of blended fertilizers and the absence of crop and soil specific nutrient recommendations.

AFER brings together and builds on a number of existing significant research initiatives and research institutes, specifically:

  1. The Tigray Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), which participates in the National Taskforce for development of Decision Support Tools for Appropriate Fertilizer Recommendation;
  2. Teagasc, which participates in the EU Horizon 2020 project LANDMARK (Land Management: Assessment, Research, Knowledge base);
  3. GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), which funds and operates the Integrated Soil Fertility Management programme in Ethiopia;
  4. Wageningen University and Research, which manages the CASCAPE project in Ethiopia.

AFER is structured as a cluster of three ‘nested’ PhD projects, in which three Ethiopian students work to address the same research question, but at a range of scales:

PhD 1 will aim to elucidate the plot-level processes that underlie differences between soils in their capacity to supply nutrients.

PhD 2 will build on this and develop a prototype decision support tool at farm scale.

PhD 3 will assess the prototype decision support tool within the framework of Functional Land Management at community level.

By embedding the PhDs within the local research and development framework, the outcomes from AFER will include a Decision Support Tool for nutrient management that will be of direct benefit and relevance to smallholder farmers and the local fertilizer industry.

Dr Lance O’Brien and Dr David Wall pictured during a recent visit to Ethiopia to review progress of three Ethiopian Ph. D students funded under the Walsh Fellowships Programme. Also in picture are Professor Rogier Schulte (Co-supervisor in Wageningen), Dr Steffen Schulz (GIZ-German Aid Agency), Dr Abbadi Reda, Director of TARI (Tigray Agricultural Research Institute) and Walsh Fellows: Mehretab Yohalashet and Gidera Reda.


March 2018

Visit by Teagasc Experts to Mozambique

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 2014 between the Mozambique Agriculture Research Institute (IIAM) and TEAGASC. In follow-up, a Teagasc delegation visited Mozambique in 2015 and a reciprocal visit was made to Ireland in 2017 by a team from IIAM. With a view to building on these preliminary exchanges, a Teagasc team comprising Dr Eddie O’Riordan and Dr Tom O’Dwyer undertook a study visit to Mozambique from 5th-9th March 2018. As a result, the following three priority areas were identified for further collaboration in the future:

  1. The development of livestock production models for sustainable, forage-based milk production suitable for Mozambique
  2. The development of livestock production models for sustainable, forage-based beef production suitable for Mozambique, and
  3. The production of high quality milk and beef products from forage-based livestock systems.

February 2018

Teagasc’s Role in Reducing Hunger and Under Nutrition in Underdeveloped Countries (pdf) 
Statement made by Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc, to the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade and Defence on Wednesday 14th February 2018


February 2018

Marie Curie Fellowship

Dr. Abel Gari has been awarded a Marie Curie-IRC CAROLINE Fellowship to conduct a project titled “Towards hybrid breeding using self-incompatibility in two grasses (Project ID: CLNE/2017/364)” under the supervision of Dr Susanne Barth. This is a highly prestigious award which is co-funded by the EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Programme. Abel is working in this project on perennial ryegrass and Napier grass on comparative aspects of the exploitation of self-incompatibility for enhanced breeding techniques. Dissemination outcomes of the project are realised in collaboration with Gorta –Self Help Africa are the development of a grower leaflet for Napier grass, a white paper on forage grasses suited to the climates of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Kenya and dissemination to the breeding industry in Ethiopia and scientific dissemination to academics in the Ethiopia.

Abel worked as a Postdoctoral researcher with ILRI and Ehtiopia and maintains close links with the CGIAR centre


 January 2018

Teagasc –Irish Aid MoU

Following the signing of an agreement in May 2017 to renew the partnership between Irish Aid and TEAGASC to enhance Ireland’s contribution to Global Agriculture Development, Teagasc met with Irish Aid on 22 January to review 2017 progress and agree on a programme and budget for 2018.


December 2017

KALRO Milk products development and training plant at Dairy Research Institute Naivasha, Kenya

The Irish Embassy in Nairobi has agreed to support Teagasc to work with KALRO (Kenyan Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation) in the further development of their dairy products development and training plant at Naivasha. Teagasc will

  • Advice on types of equipment for differentiated milk products  to be installed in the new centre at Naivasha (A visit by experts in this area to KALRO for professional advice)
  • Provide capacity building for key KALRO dairy staff on all aspects of processing safe and demand- driven milk products at Moorepark.

December 2017

Potato Value Chain Capacity Building Project (PCB) in Kenya

Teagasc will partner with KALRO (Kenyan Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation), IFDC (International Fertilizer Development Center), IPM Potato Group (Ireland) and Kevian Limited Kenya in a new project funded by the Irish Embassy in Nairobi.  The three-year pilot aims to increase revenue for 3,000 smallholder farmers through training on good agricultural practices, facilitating access to affordable certified potato seed and creating linkages with formal and non-formal markets for their produce. Kevian Kenya Limited will develop a market- oriented network for supplying potato seed and other inputs with a target of distributing at least 5,000 tons of seed in partnership with IPM Potato Group. IFDC will provide technical expertise in soil fertility and using the agribusiness cluster approach, coordinate among the value chain actors including TEAGASC’s and KARLO’s participation in farmer education, and facilitate access to finance and market linkages. At the end of this project, it is anticipated that the revenues from 3,000 smallholder farmers will be increased by at least 30% through adoption of new technologies, including use of certified potato seed, consistent practice of Good Agricultural Practices, improved farm management skills and market access.


December 2017

Visit by Teagasc Experts to Vietnam

Following the training period spent by staff from IPSARD (the policy development unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Vietnam) in Athenry in May 2017, Dr Kevin Hanrahan and Mr Trevor Donnellan, Teagasc Athenry, spent time in Vietnam supporting IPSARD in on-going  capacity development in  building economic models. The focus of the work was in assisting IPSARD to assemble the data with which to build their model of the Vietnamese pig sector and to build a network of stakeholders within the Vietnamese government and pig industry who will a) contribute knowledge and expertise and support to the project and b) be users of the analysis that in the future the model will be used to generate. The visit was supported by the Irish Embassy in Hanoi and work with IPSARD will continue in 2018.


 

November 2017

Launch of Ireland-Kenya Agri-Food Strategy 2017-2021

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, launched a new Ireland-Kenya Agri-Food Strategy 2017-2021 in Nairobi on 8th November. The Strategy was developed by the Irish Embassy in Kenya in association with Dr Lance O’Brien (Teagasc) and with input from other Irish Forum for International Agricultural Development (IFIAD) partners.

The Strategy identifies significant opportunities for Ireland and for Teagasc to strengthen mutually beneficial knowledge and institutional partnerships around agri-food. In his speech, the Minister highlighted the role of Teagasc in developing the strategy and he stated that Teagasc would play a key role in helping to deliver on the implementation of the Strategy.


October 2017

Dairy Development Programme in Eritrea

Dr Seamus Crosse and Mr Tom Ryan visited Eritrea for ten days on a new project in relation to Teagsac support for a commercial dairy project involving the establishment of a large dairy herd (~300 cows and followers) together with the establishment of a dairy processing unit with capacity (30,000L /day) to process own milk as well as milk from catchment area.    The Mission arose from an earlier mission in April 2017 where the follow up involved an invitation by Teagasc to Mr Abraham Michael and Azeb  Tseggai of Azeb Company Limited,  to visit Ireland so as to get an understanding of the dairy production system in Ireland as well as medium scale milk processing. Following the visit to Ireland, it was agreed that Teagasc would provide consultancy service in relation to a new dairy initiative by Azeb Production Limited.  Terms of Reference  agreed for the Mission include; To provide support to Azeb Company Limited in relation to: (1)   the preparation of business plans. (2) to design milking and associated dairy cow facilities for circa 300 cows. (3) To provide advice in relation type and source of dairy processing equipment as well as on building design. 


October 2017

IFIAD Conference

The second Annual IFIAD Conference  on the theme of Agriculture in the Delivery of One Health was held in Iveagh House, Dublin on  Monday 23 October 2017. Programme, presentations and additional resources on One Health are available at: http://www.ifiad.ie/annual-conference-2017/


October  2017

Successful  PhD defences

Yenenesh Tadesse and Waga Mazengia, two of the PhD students working on the Chencha Potato Project in Ethiopia, successfully defended their theses in Wageningen University The project involves a collaboration  between Teagasc, Wageningen University and the Irish NGO Vita . The PhD students worked at the crop, farm and community level to identify and solve constraints to production and develop further seed potato interventions.  As a follow-up, Mr Larry O’Loughlin and Mr Peter Leonard spent a week in Chencha with a view to agreeing a technology transfer project which will draw on the new information from the PhD research projects.


August 2017

Visit to Teagasc by Researchers from Mozambique

As a follow up to the MoU signed between Teagasc and IIAM  (the Mozambique Institute of Agricultural Research), a team of IIAM researchers, funded by the Irish Embassy in Mozambique,  visited  Teagasc between 28th and 31st August. The team sought to gain an understanding of Teagasc’s role and strategy in supporting the development of Ireland’s agri-food sector and, in particular, to learn about the development of the Irish dairy sector, the role of Teagasc, and how some of the Irish experience  could be transferred to Mozambique.  At the conclusion of the visit, it was agreed that IIAM will forward a report to Teagasc by the end of September outlining a couple of key actions they would like to work on with Teagasc to help advance their dairy industry. The Irish Embassy in Mozambique is committed to supporting Teagasc in this endeavor.


July 2017

IFIAD World Food Day Conference 2017

The Irish Forum for International Agricultural Development (http://www.ifiad.ie/) will  host  a conference on World Food Day, 16th October, 2017 in  the Department of Foreign Affairs, Iveagh House, Dublin. The theme for the event is One Health: How Ireland is contributing to the international debate on the links between human health, animal health, agriculture and the environment.

Full details of the event, including registration, are available on the IFIAD website.


July 2017

Visit to Teagasc by Eritrean Food Entrepreneurs

Mr Abraham Tseggay  and Ms Azieb  Tseggay Weldetensaie  ( mother and son ) who operate a dairy farm and small cheese processing plant near Asmara, Eritrea, spent the first week of July in Ireland learning about dairy farming and processing. Abraham plans a major extension of his dairy farm and processing facilities and in planning for this he visited a number of Irish dairy farm and small dairy processing companies. He also spent some time in Moorepark and visited Moorepark Open Day. Teagasc has undertaken to provide technical  support for his expansion plans. The development of the larger processing facility will be of great benefit to the small farmers who are part of the Teagasc  pilot dairy production project in Eritrea, which benefits from Irish Aid funding.


June 2017

Dr Lance O’Brien joins Vita Board

Dr Lance O’Brien has joined the Board of Vita, the international development organisation, with effect from June 2017.  Teagasc signed an MoU with Vita in 2011 and has been working closely with them on projects in Eritrea and Ethiopia.


 March 2017

Launch of book on Potatoes

Pictured at launch are, from left, Dr Lance O’Brien, Teagasc, Prof Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc, Mr John Weakliam, CEO, Vita, Ms Kate Foley, Iverk Produce, and Dr John Burke, author..

Professor Gerry Boyle, Director, launched a new book- Growing the Potato Crop” by former Teagasc stalwart and renowned potato expert John Burke – in Teagasc Headquarters on 28th March.

The book, which is expected to be a significant game changer for potato farmers in East Africa, focusses on improving potato productivity in sub Saharan Africa. Effectively it is a training manual for farmers, crop specialists, agronomists and extension workers across the region and beyond. It provides practical guidelines to improve crop productivity, combined with an astute application of the scientific principles underpinning those guidelines. It is based on John’s own expertise, accumulated through his vast experience of working with Teagasc, Vita and the potato farmers of Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Through John’s expert guidance, over 12,000 farmers in East Africa have already seen their yields increase by 300% on average, while the programme is now being rolled out in five more sub Saharan countries.


May 2017

Working visit to Teagasc by Delegation from Vietnam

A delegation from IPSARD (the policy development unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Vietnam) spent the period 2-5th May on a working visit in Teagasc Athenry with the support of the Irish Embassy in Vietnam. The delegation focused on developing capacity in the field of building economic models to forecast impacts of market volatility and policies on farm households (micro level) and agricultural sector (meso level). It is expected that the visit will lead to further collaboration between IPSARD and Teagasc and further work by the Teagasc Policy Modeling Team in strengthening Vietnamese capacity.


May 2017

Working visit to Teagasc by Kenyan researchers

The Irish Embassy in Nairobi and Teagasc supported t a working visit by Dr Joseph G Mureithi and Dr Foustine Wandera from KALRO in Kenya to Teagasc from 17th to 21st April, 2017. The purpose of the visit was to learn and explore potential areas of collaboration in livestock research, particularly on beef and dairy production and product development. The specific topics of interest were beef cattle finishing, meat science, value addition of livestock products and pasture/forage development. This visit builds on the MOU between Teagasc and KALRO and will involve some capacity building activities for KALRO staff in the area of livestock production.


May 2017

Working visit to Kenya

On the invitation of the Irish Embassy in Nairobi, Dr Lance O’Brien spent the period 21-26 June on a working visit in Kenya. He visited a number of universities, farmer training colleges, KALRO (the Kenyan Agriculture Research Organisation) as well as participating in a workshop in the Irish Embassy on strengthening Irish/Kenyan links in agri-food. A Framework Paper has been prepared following the workshop which will involve additional investment by the Irish Embassy in strengthening trade links and institutional relationships.


May 2017

Irish Aid and Teagasc in partnership on Ireland’s contribution to Global Agriculture Development


February 2017

Kenyan Invitation

Dr Lance O’Brien and Dr Edward O’Riordan were invited to  visit Kenya over the period 28th November-2nd December 2016. The visit  was undertaken at the request of the Irish Embassy in Nairobi and coincided with the visit of a small Irish delegation led by Mr Joe McHugh, TD, Minister for the Diaspora and Overseas Development.  Activities undertaken included a mixture of official meetings and events with the Minister’s delegation and separate meetings organised by Teagasc only.

On Friday, 2nd December, the Teagasc personnel  participated in a round table meeting, hosted by Minister McHugh, on strengthening Ireland-Kenya links in agriculture. The session was attended by a wide range of Kenyan and Irish business people. Dr O’Brien  was invited to make a presentation  on the development of Ireland’s agri-food sector, the key factors underpinning success of the sector and possible learnings for Kenya. This was followed by a wide ranging discussion. 

New Project in Ethiopia

Teagasc has signed an agreement with Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR)  to participate in the AFER+ project  in Tigray Province, Ethiopia. The objective is to develop a prototype Decision Support Tool (DST) of relevance to smallholder farmers, for crop and soil specific nutrient advice, based on data that can easily (e.g. visually) be obtained in the field.

To deliver on this ambitious objective, AFER+ brings together and builds on a number of existing significant research initiatives and research institutes, specifically:

  1. The Tigray Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), which participates in the National Taskforce for development of Decision Support Tools for Appropriate Fertilizer Recommendation;
  2. Teagasc (the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority) which leads the EU Horizon 2020 project LANDMARK (Land Management: Assessment, Research, Knowledge base);
  3. GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), which funds and operates the Integrated Soil Fertility Management programme in Ethiopia;
  4. Wageningen University and Research, which manages the CASCAPE project in Ethiopia.

AFER+ is structured as a cluster of three ‘nested’ PhD projects, in which three Ethiopian students work to address the same research question, but at a range of scales:

PhD 1 will aim to elucidate the plot-level processes that underlie differences between soils in their capacity to supply nutrients.

PhD 2 will build on this and develop a prototype decision support tool at farm scale.

PhD 3 will assess the prototype decision support tool within the framework of Functional Land Management at community level.


Eritrea – Ireland Climate Resilient Agriculture Partnership Programme 2017-2021


Teagasc Organises Workshop at GFRAS 2016 Annual Meeting in Cameroon


Official Launch of IFIAD 13 October 2016

The official launch of the Irish Forum for International Agricultural Development (IFIAD) will be performed by Mr Joe McHugh, TD, Minister of State for the Diaspora and Overseas Development Aid at The RDS (Minerva Suite), Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 on Thursday, 13th October 2016 at 9 am.

For further details, see: www.ifiad.ie


Teagasc Visit to Vietnam, 9th  to 19th September 2016

Professor Gerry Boyle, Director and Dr Frank O’Mara, Director of Research, visited Vietnam to explore and develop a series of concrete options for Teagasc involvement in the Vietnam IDEAS Programme 2017-20 (www.irishaid.ie). Some of these would then be prioritised and piloted in 2017 and, subject to initial piloting, be continued for the 2018-20 period. The Mission involved meetings and site visits with the Embassy, key Ministries (MPI, MARD) provincial government, research institutes, education institutes, other relevant donors, Vietnamese companies, Irish food companies, and farms. It also included visits to Hanoi and HCM, including the HCM province.


Visit of Mr Arefaine Behre, Eritrean Minister of Agriculture to Ireland, 26th June to 5th July 2016

The invitation to Mr Arefaine to visit Ireland was issued by Teagasc, with the backing of Irish Aid and the support of Vita and Gorta Self-Help Africa (Gorta SHA).  This was primarily a technical visit during which the Minister gained a clearer understanding of the role of Teagasc in developing Irish agriculture and got to see different types of commercial Irish farms and small food companies. The Minister is particularly interested in the Teagasc integrated model of research and knowledge transfer and is keen to establish a similar model in Eritrea. He has a particular commitment agricultural development based on research and knowledge transfer.


Irish Experts in Eritrea for Pioneering Dairy and Potato Programmes


Irish Times article on Teagasc involvement in Ethiopian potato project:

Potatoes are nuggets to save Ethiopia as Ireland shares years of expertise (PDF)


Teagasc and UCD held a workshop on Global Food Security in the RDS on Friday, 13th June. The event was aimed at research, education, policy and NGO professionals, and attracted an audience of 100. Full details of the programme can be accessed at:

Food Security Workshop - 13 June 2014 (PDF)