Accra, July 24, GNA – The West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) has once again topped the University of Ghana’s (UG) listing of PhD graduating students.
Of the 29 PhDs awarded at the University’s College of Basic and Applied Sciences congregation held at the weekend in Accra; seven were from WACCI (PhD Plant Breeding); followed by three each in Environmental Science and Nutrition.
The graduating WACCI students, made up of four females and three males were from Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Cameroon.
Their research work targeted priority crops for the region such as maize, cowpea, sorghum and cassava.
This brings the total number of WACCI trained PhD graduates over its decade of establishment to 35.
These number of WACCI trained products would go a long way to help boost the fight against food insecurity and malnutrition in Africa.
Professor Eric Danquah, WACCI Director said the graduates would make transformative contributions to crop breeding not only in West Africa but across the entire continent.
“The Centre aims to develop human resource with the ability to generate improved crop varieties adapted to the West Africa sub-region with farmer preferred traits,” he said.
“Although it was established to cater for the West Africa region, it currently hosts students from outside the region attracted by the quality of education and the popularity of the programme,” he added.
Speaking on the sidelines of the graduation ceremony, Dr Rufaro Madakadze of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), congratulated the students on their achievements and urged them to apply the skills they have acquired to improve food security in Africa.
“AGRA, through its capacity building function, believes that the development of human resources in plant breeding to drive variety development is a critical component in achieving an agricultural transformation in Africa,” she stated.
Dr Madakadze said there were more women than men in this group of graduates which would help to increase the number of women researchers in this predominantly male dominated field.
“Upon my graduation, I intend to evaluate the cowpea families I developed during my PhD Research work in multi-environments.
“I am also preparing three scientific articles to publish soon. The training at WACCI enabled me to acquire skills and knowledge that qualified me as a Research Officer and today, I work as head of legume and vegetable crop research in Cameroon and also serve as Chief of research station,” Atemkeng-Nkoumki Maureen, Cameroon.
WACCI was established in June 2007 with funding from the AGRA to train Plant Breeders at the PhD level at the UG.
In delivering its quality training, WACCI collaborates with Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, USA and national research institutions where most of these students have been drawn from.
The collaboration with the National Agricultural Research Institutes ensures that the students at the end of their training programmes go back to their home country and are immediately engaged in research and development for the improvement of the lives of smallholder farmers.
WACCI works closely with AGRA in responding to capacity needs of the region and in keeping with key strategic milestones in delivering a uniquely African Green Revolution.
AGRA is an African-led alliance focused on putting farmers at the center of our continent’s growing economy.
AGRA advances uniquely African solutions to sustainably raise farmers’ productivity and connect them to a growing marketplace.
Together with its partners—including African governments, researchers, donors, the private sector, and civil society—AGRA seeks to create an environment where Africa feeds itself.
AGRA works across 18 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and maintains a head office in Nairobi, Kenya and country offices in Ghana, Mali, Mozambique and Tanzania.