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Agreement between Irish Aid, UCC and ICRAF to improve food security in Ethiopia


Agreement between Irish Aid, National University of Ireland Cork and ICRAF to improve food security in Ethiopia 


The Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade, Simon Coveney T.D., today witnessed the signing of an agreement in the Embassy of Ireland in Ethiopia between the National University of Ireland Cork (UCC), the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) and Irish Aid.

Under this agreement, UCC and ICRAF will work in collaboration with Teagasc and Mekele University in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia, to undertake research over the next two years on Irish Aid’s investment in rehabilitating eroded and environmentally degraded land in Tigray. The research will look at how the successes of the project can be replicated in other areas and can influence policy making.  

Since 1994 Ireland has partnered with the Ethiopian Government and NGOs in the Tigray region, Northern Ethiopia to rehabilitate eroded and environmentally degraded land through improving management of watersheds in the region. This in turn has transformed the productivity of land in marginalised rural areas and improved food security for thousands of rural Ethiopian households, allowing them to make a living from their land and provide employment for the next generation.

Despite its remarkable growth rate, Ethiopia is facing a number of major development challenges, including high rates of rural poverty, high levels of food insecurity and the impact of climate change. In drought-prone areas, these challenges can be alleviated by developing systems which will help rehabilitate eroded land and allow for improved irrigation and productivity.


Speaking today, Minister Coveney said:

“From first-hand experience, I know that research has to start with understanding the experiences and challenges facing farmers and finding practical, scale-able and sustainable ways to address environmental challenges and increase productivity.

This partnership between University College Cork, Teagasc, the World Agroforestry Centre and Mekele University will not only drive further improvements in livelihoods in Tigray but will also draw out lessons on what works and what can be scaled up. Lessons that can be used across Ethiopia and beyond, to address climate change, support rural communities and transform lives


Press Office

6 November 2017

Note to Editors

  • Ethiopia is among the world’s group of Least Developed Countries and is ranked at 174 out of 188 countries on the UN’s Human Development Index. €29 million will be provided through Irish Aid’s bilateral programme in Ethiopia in 2017. Irish Aid has been working in the Tigray region since 1994.  
  • National University of Ireland Cork in collaboration with Teagasc and ICRAF have developed a research project which will be implemented from 2018 to 2020.  It will support 2 PhD students in Tigray to work on developing an analytical model of watershed development and on nutrition-sensitive value chain.