Larry O’Loughlin has been appointed Chairman of the Board to the third-world development organisation, VITA. He succeeds Brendan Casey, who had been chairman of VITA for the past three years.
Larry O’Loughlin is regional manager in Teagasc, former President of the Agricultural Science Association and was special adviser to former Minister and MEP Liam Hyland TD. He also acts as an election observer for the European Union and has recently returned from Belarus where he monitored the Presidential election there. He is an agricultural science graduate of UCD and was previously chief agriculture officer in counties Kildare, Limerick and Wicklow. He lives at Rosenallis, Co. Laois.
Speaking after his appointment, Larry O’Loughlin called for an increase in donor aid by governments and donor agencies in the West to development countries and in particular to agriculture based projects.
“Investment in agriculture has long term sustainable benefits. Increased investment in food production in developing countries would greatly reduce poverty and dependence on the West within a generation”, said newly-appointed O’Loughlin. “VITA’s new Strategic Plan 2011 to 2015 targets taking one million people out of hunger and poverty in the sub Saharan countries of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Kenya by 2015”.
VITA, which means ‘Way of Life’, originally called Refugee Trust International (RTI) at the time of its foundation in 1989, was founded by another county Laois man Fr. Kevin Doheny from the village of Ballinalacken, on the Laois border with Kilkenny. Fr. Doheny and his colleague Fr. Norman Fitzgerald received world acclaim for their work during the Biafran War and throughout Northern Africa.
Vita is an Irish international development agency that is fighting hunger and climate change in Africa. The mission of the agency is to bring an end to extreme poverty and reduce the vulnerability of people in Africa by helping them to build sustainable long-term livelihoods for themselves.