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Irish and Ethiopian Ministers for Agriculture Agree to Work Jointly on Agri-Food Development

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today agreed with his Ethiopian counterpart, Mr Tefera Derbew, to work jointly on agricultural development and agribusiness investments in their two countries. This cooperation will include the exchange of information on agricultural policy and the encouragement of bilateral private agri-business collaboration.

Minister Coveney was attending the 3rd annual Africa Ireland Economic Forum held at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. The theme of this year’s forum is ‘Building Partnerships’. Minister Coveney participated in a panel discussion on ‘Agri-Business – Opportunities for Irish agribusiness in Africa’ along with Ethiopia’s Minister for Agriculture His Excellency Mr Tefera Derbew.

Minister Coveney emphasised the significant opportunities which exist in the agriculture sector in Africa, African agricultural output is predicted to rise from $280bn today to $900bn by 2030. Ireland, as a major food producer and a leading innovator in agriculture technologies, can make a significant contribution to enabling African agriculture develop in a sustainable manner” he said.

Minister Coveney and his Ethiopian counterpart Mr Tefera Derbew held a bilateral meeting to discuss Irish and Ethiopian agriculture and they reaffirmed their commitment to continued cooperation between the two countries.  In this regard the Ministers signed a joint Statement of Intent which encourages continued cooperation between Ireland and Ethiopia in the areas of agriculture, in particular by the countries’ respective National Research Agencies, consideration of a possible double taxation agreement and in new technologies which facilitate access to credit.

The Minister also reviewed a project which has been approved for funding from the Africa Agri-food Development Fund (AADF).

MaGrow is a technology which uses magnetic inserts to improve spraying/irrigation equipment used for crop spraying. The project is under development in Nova, UCD and will create jobs in both Ireland and Ethiopia.

Minister Coveney underlined that this type of private sector engagement is crucial in efforts to develop sustainable agriculture production in Africa.  If the problems associated with food insecurity are to be addressed, agriculture production systems in developing countries must have access to new technologies which will provide efficiencies and increase productivity.

Note to Editor

The Africa Agri-Food Development Fund (AADF) is a joint initiative by the Departments of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and Foreign Affairs and Trade (DAFT). Its objective is to develop partnerships between the Irish Agri-Food Sector and African countries to support sustainable growth of the local food industry, build markets for local produce and support mutual trade between Ireland and Africa.

Date Released: 04 October 2013