WACCI‏ receives AGRA Board members

WAACI students in a group photograph with Board members of AGRA and other guests

The President of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Dr. Agnes Kilabata and some members of the AGRA Board have visited the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) to meet with current PHD students and inspect the maize breeding programme at the model farm. 

The Dean of International Programmes at the University of Ghana, Prof. Naa Ayikailey Adamafio, who represented the Vice-Chancellor welcomed the delegation to the University. She said UG was proud of what WACCI has been able to achieve over the years and thanked the Director of WACCI, Prof.Eric Danquah and his team for the great job. She noted that with the University’s internationalization plan, the training of the PHD students will attract a large number of graduate students from around the world.

Dr. Rufaro Madakadze, Program Officer in charge of Education and Training at AGRA, reported that there has been a great improvement in plant breeding techniques in the respective countries that have benefited from the WACCI progamme. He added that 117 PhD students in a number of African countries have been trained so far on the programme. 


Director of WACCI, Prof. Eric Danquah making his presentation

The Director of WACCI, Prof. Eric Danquah, gave a presentation on the topic, “WACCI: An emerging Centre of Excellence for Training Plant Breeders in Africa”. He emphasized on the need for collaboration between government and scientists in Africa in order to transform the Agricultural sector. He added that the standards in Agricultural education deteriorated between the 1970’s and 1990’s causing a fall in Agricultural growth on the continent.

Prof. Danquah enumerated some challenges of Agriculture in Africa, namely financial support for Agriculturists and lack of proper education for farmers.

Elaborating on strengths and weaknesses of WACCI, Prof. Danquah said whilst WACCI serves as an innovative platform for the training of plant breeders, a major challenge is with weak support and supervision in students’ home institutions. He commended AGRA for funding the PhD programme, and hoped that the relationship would continue.

Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA commended WACCI for the sterling achievements made so far. She said there was enough evidence of the successes of the Centre given the significant accomplishments that have been made.  She wished that the success story of WACCI would be told to the right audiences as well as the wider world. She also challenged the students to make a difference with their PhD training in Plant Breeding. 

Strive Masiyiwa, Group Executive Chairman and Founder of ECONET spoke on behalf of the Board of Directors of AGRA. He described the research work of the students as remarkable and urged them to use their knowledge in crop production help eradicate hunger in Africa. He said the challenges of WACCI were well noted and promised the continued support of AGRA to the programme.

The meeting was attended by the Country Manager of AGRA Ghana, Dr. Kwasi Ampofo, who introduced the Board members at the meeting and the Director of Public Affairs of the University, Mrs. Stella A. Amoa.

As part of the meeting, there was a presentation by Imagead on the mFarms ICT platform. The platform is a mobile phone-based applicationbeing used in over 17 countries in Africa to provide reliable and efficient system of sending data from the field.

Members of the AGRA Board were conducted round the model farm after the meeting. 


The delegation on a tour of the model farm