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Teagasc and Irish Aid Sign Memorandum of Understanding

Teagasc and Irish Aid signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today, which provides for collaboration to enhance Ireland’s contribution, through agricultural research, training and extension, to developing countries. The agreement supports Ireland’s objectives of reducing hunger and under-nutrition in African countries.

Ireland is a committed supporter of using agricultural development to lift people out of hunger and poverty by providing robust livelihoods in the developing world. Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for overseas development. The ‘One World, One Future’ policy, published in May 2013, sets out Ireland’s policy for international development and prioritises the reduction of hunger and the promotion of sustainable growth to tackle food insecurity. Support for improving the productivity of smallholder agriculture to combat hunger is a central priority of the Irish Aid programme.

Speaking at the signing of the MoU, Seán Sherlock, TD, Minister for Development, Trade Promotion, and North South Cooperation, said: “Ireland is a longstanding advocate of using cutting edge agricultural research and development to support farmers in some of the world’s most challenging environments to increase their yields and the quality of their crops. This is critical in countries where up to eight in ten people depend on agriculture for their very survival. 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, in the right way. By teaming up with Teagasc, Irish Aid can harness their skills, research, and expertise, and share this knowledge with Ireland’s key partner countries through our development programme.”

Speaking at Teagasc’s Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, in Fermoy, Co. Cork, Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc, said: “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. This objective is best pursued by aligning and coordinating our efforts and resources with those of the Irish Aid Programme. This is 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.”

In welcoming the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Irish Aid and Teagasc, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD said: “Ireland has a long history and vast amount of experience and knowledge about developing and growing sustainable agri-food systems. This experience and expertise should be harnessed wherever possible to assist developing countries, especially least developed countries whose economies are heavily dependent on agriculture production, to grow their agriculture production systems in a sustainable manner. The signing of this MoU between Teagasc and Irish Aid highlights the value of cross-agency cooperation in maximising the impact of Government policy. Teagasc has a wide range of expertise which will assist Irish Aid’s efforts to support sustainable development in Ireland’s Key Development Partner Countries.”