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Minister Coveney Welcomes Formal Agreement Between Teagasc and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences on Scientific Collaboration and Exchanges

The Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Mr. Simon Coveney T.D. today welcomed the formal signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Teagasc and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) which allows for the facilitation of scientific collaboration and scientific exchange between the two agencies.

The MOU, was signed by Mr. TANG Ke, the Director General of the Department of Science and Education, from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, on behalf of CAAS and by Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc who signed on behalf of Teagasc in the offices of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in Dublin. The signing was witnessed by the Chinese Vice Minister of Agriculture, Mr Zhang Taolin and by Minister of State, at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr Brian Hayes.

The MOU follows from Minister Coveney’s successful trade mission to China in 2012, when Teagasc participated in the Irish Sino Forum on sustainable agriculture production, which was hosted by CAAS. Its aim is to encourage and develop scientific  exchange opportunities between both agencies  in the areas of animal breeding and genetics, dairy production, sustainable agricultural production, including relationship with climate change, food safety and residue analysis, and veterinary medicine and to facilitate increased opportunities to develop collaborative projects in areas of mutual interest.

The visit of Vice Minister Zhang ‘provided a further opportunity to raise the profile of Ireland as a centre of excellence in food production and research sciences at the highest political levels in China, and   enhanced the already strong trading relationship between the two countries’

 ‘It was fitting’, Minister Coveney noted, ‘that Teagasc, as the national body in Ireland providing integrated research, advisory and training services to the agriculture and food industry and rural communities in Ireland, and CAAS, as the national research and innovation organization in China, which is engaged in similar work, should come together to pool their experience and collaborate in areas of shared mutual interests’.

The Minister added that ‘the signing of this MOU by the Chinese was a recognition on their part of the advanced research infrastructure which Ireland has established in the agri food sector in Ireland over many years and reflected the high profile Ireland has as a centre of excellence in terms of research into food safety, sustainable production systems, animal breeding and genetics'.  He pointed to the mutual benefits that can arise from a collaboration based on scientific and technological progress and the spread of knowledge via the open exchange of ideas and information and said that he hoped that this would lead to further trust and understanding between both countries, and to help to further deepen the existing strong relationships between both countries in the agri-food and related sectors. 

 The Minister noted that these scientific exchanges had already commenced in 2013 in anticipation of the signing of the MOU. Dr Fuping  Zhao undertook  a six week placement in Teagasc  and  during that time, he has worked on animal genetics and breeding with one of Teagasc's leading scientist, Dr. Donagh Berry, under the direction of Dr Frank O Mara Head of Research in Teagasc .  The Minister added that he wished both agencies well in their endeavours and said he looked forward to positive outcomes from this collaborative effort. 

Added 05.06.13 

Date Released: 05 June 2013