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Minister of State Joe Costello returns from official visit to Malawi

Minister of State for Trade and Development, Joe Costello TD, today said it is clear that the Irish Aid programme in Malawi is delivering strong results for the poorest communities as he concluded his four-day visit to the country.

This week Minister Costello visited Irish Aid-funded projects which support small-holder farmers to improve yields and increase their incomes. 

Minister Costello said:

"Our partnership with Malawi has contributed to the great progress that has been since the food crisis of 2002. A Government programme to provide improved seeds and fertilisers to small-holder farmer - which is supported by Irish Aid - has helped to protect 4.6 million people from hunger over the last six years. Indeed, Malawi has moved from being an importer of maize to a net exporter of the crop.

I met farmers who have received training and support to improve their agricultural productivity and, as a result, can now provide a nutritious diet to their children; reinvest in their farms, diversify their crops and produce enough surplus to sell and secure their families’ future. These are sustainable gains that will continue to deliver far into the future.

 I was pleased to see how our support to innovative programmes is improving people’s lives. Our funding is supporting grandmothers caring for vulnerable children, who were orphaned as a result of HIV and AIDS.”

Minister Costello met senior Malawian politicians and representatives from Ireland’s NGO partners and missionary organisations. He also hosted a regional meeting on the review of the White Paper on Irish Aid.

Earlier today, Minister Costello met the family of Rudo Mawere to express his condolences.

“The death of Ms Mawere shocked and saddened us all. I took the opportunity of my visit to Malawi to meet her sisters and brother earlier today and express mydeepest sympathy to the whole family on their great loss. I told Mary, Grace and Kenneth Mawere that the thoughts of many Irish people are with their extended family in what is a very difficult time,” Minister Costello said.

For further information or to request an interview with Minister Costello, please contact Fionnuala Quinlan, Press Officer, Irish Aid, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 087-9099975.

Notes to the Editor

  • Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for overseas development. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • Minster Costello visited Malawi from February 27 until March 2.
  • The Irish Aid programme in Malawi is focused on supporting small-holder farmers to improve yields and increase their incomes. In 2012, Ireland will provide €10.5 million in assistance to Malawi.  Malawi became a Programme Country in 2007 and is aimed at building on the results achieved in previous years on governance and food security.
  • The review of the 2006 White Paper on Irish Aid is being lead by the Minister of State for Trade and Development Joe Costello.  The review will look at the changing environment in which Ireland’s aid programme is being implemented and set the future direction for the aid programme.
  • The next public consultation on the Review of the White Paper on Irish Aid will take place in Cork’s Clarion Hotel on March 5th from 7pm. Further information is available from http://www.irishaid.ie/whitepaper/