Teagasc has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Horticultural Development Company (HDC) in the UK, to increase the levels of co-operation and collaboration between the two organisations for the benefit of the horticulture sectors in Ireland and the UK.
The HDC is a division of the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board in the UK and is based in Stoneleigh Park in England. The HDC sponsor near-market research and development and make a major contribution to the profitability of the British horticultural industry. It has responsibility for over 300 crops in the horticultural industry supporting research in seven areas of horticulture: Bulbs and Outdoor Flowers; Field Vegetables; Hardy Nursery Stock; Mushrooms; Protected Crops; Soft Fruits and Tree Fruit. Growers and farmers play a vital role in setting research strategies in each of the seven crop sectors and in the decision making process for individual research projects.
As part of the Teagasc plan for the development of horticulture 2010-2013 Teagasc identified the requirement for closer co-operation with similar organisations in other countries as central to maximising the flow of knowledge to the Irish horticultural sector. This culminated in the MoU which allows for Teagasc and HDC to collaborate on development strategies for horticulture and on co-funding research projects of mutual interest. The two organisations will work to share and disseminate information from existing and future research for the benefit of horticultural producers in Ireland and the UK. This could include joint publications and jointly run open days, conferences, and seminars.
This collaboration offers enormous potential for Teagasc Horticultural Development Department to access the vast HDC research knowledge base for the betterment of the horticulture sector in Ireland.
Head of Horticulture in Teagasc, Jim O’Mahony said: “We are delighted with this very progressive development which is already inspiring our Research and Advisory Staff by opening up access to vast resources and possibilities of joint projects. This is an important agreement for Teagasc whereby the collaboration of the research and advisory resources of the two organisations will improve the service delivered to commercial horticulture producers in Ireland and will support the development of the sector into the future. “
Dr William Parker, Director of Horticulture at HDC said: “I look forward to collaborating with Teagasc staff to identify future horticultural prospects of mutual interest and working together to bring them to fruition for the benefit of HDC levy payers.