TCD Celebrates Africa Day with Conference on Developing Agri-Food Sector in Africa

Posted on: 25 May 2012

A strong and sustainable agriculture sector in Africa has the potential to tackle under-nutrition and rural poverty across the continent, according to speakers at an international conference on agriculture to mark Africa Day in Trinity College Dublin. 

As part of the 2012 Africa Day celebrations the Trinity International Development Initiative (TIDI), Trinity’s Institute for International Integration Studies (IIIS) and the Human Development Initiative at UCD in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine hosted the free public conference titled, ‘Scaling Up Agriculture: Sharing Challenges and Experiences of Modernising Agriculture in Ireland and Africa’.

Mr Joe Costello, TD, Minister of State, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Her Excellency Catherine Muigai Mwangi, Ambassador of Kenya to Ireland, Mr Simon Coveney, TD, Minister, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine & Prof David Taylor, Department of Geography, TCD

Keynote speakers included the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, the Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello and the Kenyan Ambassador HE Catherine Muigai Mwangi.

Addressing the conference, Professor David Taylor, Professor of Geography, School of Natural Sciences, TCD and Chair of the Trinity International Development Initiative, said: “Poverty, health, hunger and malnutrition – all interrelated problems- are at the core of the development challenge facing African countries.  Climate change poses a major threat to food security – and therefore to health – in many parts of the continent, and is likely to have greatest impact on the poorest”.

“The ‘Scaling up Agriculture’ conference is therefore very timely.  Agriculture is once more at the centre of the development agenda, having suffered from low levels of investment in scientific research.  As we have heard at today’s conference, there are good news stories concerning agriculture on the continent.  Looking to the future, Ireland – with its well-developed food production and research sectors – has an important role to play in ensuring food security in Africa”, Professor Taylor concluded.

TIDI-linked researchers, based in the College’s three faculties, have been awarded a major research grant for research at the intersection between hunger and health. Announced by the Minister for Trade and Development at the conference, this funding is part the €4.8 million for research partnerships funded under Irish Aid’s Programme of Strategic Cooperation.  The programmes involve seven Irish higher education institutions working in partnership with institutions in five of Irish Aid’s programme Countries – Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, Ethiopia and Tanzania. The programme is managed by the Higher Education Authority on behalf of Irish Aid.