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November 2018

EU Funding for Eritrea

The EU has agreed to fund a major new project in Eritrea under its DeSIRA (Development Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture) initiative.  DeSIRA aims at improved food security, nutrition and economic development of poor rural people through a transformation of agricultural and food systems informed by science and supported by innovation. 

The project team includes:

Lead Applicant:

  • Teagasc


  • ILRI (Ethiopia)
  • UCC
  • UCD
  • Vita
  • Self Help Africa (SHA)
  • Greenfield Dairy Solutions

Associate Applicants:

  • Hamelmalo Agricultural College (HAC)
  • Ministry of Agriculture Eritrea (MoA)
  • National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI).

Teagasc (Dr Lance O’Brien) led a team, including Prof. Stephen Onakuse (UCC), John Weakliam (Vita), Dr Azage Tegegne (ILRI) and Dr Seamus Crosse (Greenfield International), to Eritrea earlier this month to scope out the project. Meetings were held with Minister Arefaine and MoA Directors, EU Delegation Office staff, Hamelmalo Agricultural College, Hagaz College, and representatives of the dairy value chain (farmers, service providers, co-operatives and milk processors). A workshop was also held with MoA staff, Hamelmalo College staff as well as Regional/Zoba representatives. It is expected that a contract will be signed with the EU in December, with the project commencing in early 2019.


October 2018

IFIAD Conference

IFIAD will host its third annual conference at the Headquarters of the Dept. of Foreign Affairs, Iveagh House, on Wednesday, 24th October. The theme for this year’s conference will be: ‘Transformation Pathways for Developing Country Agriculture.’

When: Wednesday 24th October 2018 Where: Iveagh House, 80 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2 Time: 9am to 3pm (registration starts at 8.30am)

If you wish to attend the conference, please register https://selfhelpafrica.wufoo.com/forms/w1u1c2do07nfkbv/

Or email info@ifiad.ie.

To read more about this year’s event click here.


July 2018

Visit by Teagasc Experts to Colombia

Professor Gerry Boyle and Dr Mary Ryan undertook a scoping mission to Colombia over the period 14th-20th July. The Teagasc mission aimed to build upon Ireland’s constructive role in the Colombian peace process. It focused on exploring options for technical assistance to the Colombian government in respect of rural development planning, The mission explored how Ireland’s experience and expertise might be of relevance in this process.

The scoping mission also assisted in sharing the experiences in Ireland of integrated rural development based on sustainable agricultural development and explored ways in which ongoing support and technical assistance could be provided to local communities in tackling the challenges they face. The visit also built on the considerable experience built up by TEAGASC, with the support of Irish Aid, over the past decade in providing technical assistance to a number of countries, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, who have faced similar challenges in a post-conflict environment. Some of the specific areas considered should include:

  • the development of the ovine sector;
  • rural development, particularly diversification of on- and off- farm income for small holders; and
  • organic production and the development of supply chains and markets for organic products.

It is anticipated that the outcome of the visit will be a proposal for a longer-term engagement between Ireland and local actors in Colombia for the purposes of knowledge transfer and support for the development of sustainable approaches to crop substitution and development of productive agricultural activities. Such proposal should identify an optimum timeframe for engagement and resources needed with outline costings, with a view to framing a proposal for support to the EU Trust Fund.

June 2018

Visit by Teagasc Experts to Kenya

Through support of the World Bank, the Kenyan Dairy Research Institute (DRI) (part of KALRO) has constructed a products development and training plant to serve Kenya and the entire Eastern Africa region for actors along the milk value chain. The primary beneficiaries are dairy farmers targeting milk value added value, dairy co-operatives, large- scale milk processors and university graduates with dairy training backgrounds. The facility will be instrumental in development of dairy products from cattle, goats and camel milk. The training facility however, has yet to be equipped.

KALRO requested Teagasc to provide expertise to:

  • Advise on types of equipment for the processing of differentiated milk products
  • Provide capacity building for key KALRO dairy staff on all aspects of processing safe and demand- driven milk products.

With the support of the Irish Embassy in Kenya, Drs Tom O’Callaghan and John Tobin visited the KALRO facility in Naivasha, Kenya between June 26th and 29th. They are currently working on the design, layout and equipment portfolio for the Naivasha plant. They will also liaise with KALRO to develop a programme of capacity building for key staff members of the plant.

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.


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