Teagasc launch sustainable potato project in Ethiopia

Teagasc director Professor Gerry Boyle is in Ethiopia this week to visit a pilot project entitled, ‘Developing sustainable seed potato production systems for improved livelihoods’. This project is being implemented with Vita in the Chencha region of Ethiopia.

This is part of Teagasc’s new policy on international food security. Teagasc is partnering on the project with Vita, a Irish non-governmental organisation, Wageningen University and Research, the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, the International Potato Centre, Arba Minch University and the Irish Potato Federation.

The project is intended to empower and strengthen the local knowledge base by funding and training three Ethiopian PhD students. Dissemination of the research will help local subsistence farmers and the research will ultimately be widely transferable across sub-Saharan Africa through a proposed potato coalition.

Professor Boyle will pay a return visit to Ethiopian Agriculture Minister Tefera Deribew on the afternoon of Thursday, 31 October following the minister’s visit to Ireland in early October.

During the visit he will have an opportunity to see first-hand the Vita pilot project on sustainable seed potato systems, and explore the role of research-led agricultural development in the Chencha region of Ethiopia.

Formal and active collaboration between Teagasc and Arba Minch University has been initiated with a Memorandum of Understanding signed yesterday, Tuesday, 29 October.

The Teagasc director will also formalise and build on the collaboration between Teagasc and the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, by signing an agreement on Thursday, 31 October.

Professor Boyle will also discuss the outcomes of the visit, as well as Teagasc’s new policy on international food security, with the Irish Embassy in Addis Ababa. Vita CEO John Weakliam paid tribute to Professor Boyle and his colleagues in Teagasc for facilitating the use of the world-class capacity of Teagasc in research, extension and education, in addressing the constraints to sustainable food production and improved livelihoods in Africa.

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