WACCI Inaugurates Multipurpose Building

Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, Prof. Eric Danquah and other University officials after the ceremony

A multi-purpose building has been inaugurated by the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI).  The facility is expected to serve as a research and lecture facility as well as an enterprise hub.

WACCI, established eleven years ago, has as its objective, to train the next generation of plant breeders and scientists to address challenges in agriculture and also improve the growth of agribusiness for socio-economic development.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, who chaired the ceremony, was delighted at the completion of the Centre’s multipurpose building.  He pledged the University’s commitment to the vision of WACCI and to provide the required support for the Centre’s success.  He commended Professor Eric Yirenkyi Danquah, Director of WACCI, for his visionary leadership in establishing WACCI, who he said, together with his team had perfected the skills of winning competitive grants, receiving international recognition and providing a training hub for young scientists in the sub-region.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu

Goodwill messages were received from a number of institutions.  In a message from the Association of African Universities (AAU), the Director of ICT Services and Knowledge Management, Mr. Nodumo Dhlamini congratulated the University and WACCI for the completion of the building and said he was particularly proud that WACCI has performed exceptionally well in the implementation of the World Bank Africa Centres of Excellence Project.

The World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia, Dr. Henry Kerali, in brief remarks, indicated that the World Bank was proud to partner with WACCI in the construction of the building. He mentioned that the additional space for lecture rooms and laboratories will impact not only the Centre but Africa at large. He commended WACCI for obtaining international accreditation for it graduate programmes in MPhil (Seed Science and Technology) and PhD (Plant Breeding) and challenged the Centre to attract more regional students as well as female PhD students.

World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia, Dr. Henry Kerali

The Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Sagre Bambangi, on behalf of the sector Minister, Hon. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, congratulated WACCI for its achievements, particularly the completion of what he described, a magnificent edifice. He emphasized the need for more plant breeders and seed scientists and technologists in West Africa. He noted that the multipurpose facility with modern laboratory and well equipped library will help produce the requisite human resource to support agriculture. He urged WACCI to develop climate smart seed varieties and improved seed systems for farmers to obtain quality seeds to increase productivity. He also took the opportunity to challenge WACCI and its scientists to produce maize varieties that can be resistant to the fall army worms which have recently invaded some farms in the country.

Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Sagre Bambangi

A student representative, Sandra Odonkor also expressed appreciation to the Director, faculty and staff, for the opportunity to study in an excellent environment which she said, will certainly lead to the acquisition of rich knowledge to impact agriculture in their various countries. She made a passionate appeal to leaders of African countries to invest in WACCI to be able to achieve food security on the continent.

Sandra Odonkor

Dr. Eugene Terry, Advisory Board Chair of WACCI commended Professor Eric Danquah and his able team for their commitment and dedication to ensure the timely completion of the building project. He also expressed appreciation to the Management of the University as well as stakeholders who had contributed in diverse ways to development of the Centre.

The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, was the Guest Speaker.  In his address, he indicated that government was committed to transform the agricultural sector.  He appealed for concerted efforts from academia, farmers and key stakeholders to ensure that government’s vision of “Ghana beyond Aid” becomes a reality. He reiterated government’s commitment to the Africa Centres of Excellence Project which he said, promotes regional specialization among participating universities, and addresses regional challenges while strengthening the capacities of the universities to transmit quality training and applied research.

Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta

Prof. Eric Danquah made a presentation on “Transforming WACCI into an Agricultural Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institution”, highlighting on the early beginnings of WACCI, the journey, strategic direction of WACCI, while acknowledging institutions and individuals who have accompanied WACCI in this process.

Prof. Eric Danquah

There was a facility tour after the main inauguration ceremony.