New relationships forged between AgResearch and key overseas science organisations will provide a host of valuable opportunities for New Zealand, says Chief Executive Tom Richardson.

“The first is a new strategic partnership involving organisations from three other countries, where we can share our scientific gains and better grasp the opportunities that come along,” Dr Richardson says.

The partnership - with Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural Research (INIA), Catalonia’s Research & Technology & Food & Agriculture (IRTA) and Ireland’s Agriculture and Food Development Authority (Teagasc) – will focus on sustainability of the dairy, beef and sheep sectors.

“While there are real benefits from this partnership for New Zealand, we are also doing our part by using our knowledge to help assist the development of agriculture in other countries,” Dr Richardson says.

“In Uruguay, we are part of a family farm improvement project funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Using knowledge we have built up in New Zealand, this will help lift the productivity and profitability in family farming in Uruguay, as well as helping in its retention of farmers in remote areas.”

“The second key relationship is a cooperation agreement between AgResearch and Teagasc, with a focus on developing the next generation of scientists in both New Zealand and Ireland.”

The agreement will mean co-funding seven PhD students who spend time between the two countries, and working in key areas that include greenhouse gas emissions, food safety and parasite control.

“New Zealand and Ireland have quite similar farming systems and there is a lot we can learn from each other,” Dr Richardson says.

“This agreement is a commitment to doing that, and bringing on a new group of scientists that will support both of our countries into the future.”

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