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WACCI Sets Up $60m Fund For Agric
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The West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), a flagship research-based unit under College of Basic and Allied Science of the University of Ghana (UG), has launched a $60 million Endowment Fund to help in the training of more high level students in the plant breeding programme to boost agricultural production in the West African Sub-Region.

It is the aim of the centre to also build a multi-purpose centre for the training of students to unearth new and better ways to ensure science and technology becomes a major underpinning in the efforts towards agricultural development in Wes Africa.

Launching the endowment fund, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, pledged one million dollars to kick start the operations of the fund.

The centre, in the past four years, has produced the highest number of PhD students in the Agricultural sector of studies in the country.

Since its establishment some 10 years ago, the centre has trained 108 PhD students in plant breeding and crop sciences.

The number is the highest ever produced by a unit of faculty at the premier university in the country.

The centre became popular with the training of PhD students in crop sciences with the support of Alliance for a Green Resolution in Africa (AGRA), a Non-Governmental Organisation.

Speaking at the event, which also coincided with the centre’s 10th anniversary launch, Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, Vice-Chancellor of the UG, revealed that in 2014, the university decentralised its academic administration by reorganising the academic structure into collegiate system.

According to him, through this four colleges became semi-autonomous and have been able to deliver on academic functions, in line with the university’s vision to become a world class research intensive institution.

He claimed his association with WACCI dates back from the time he was Provost of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, during which he served as member of the WACCI Advisory Board.

He added that through sustained and visionary leadership, WACCI was selected as one of the World Bank Africa Centres of Excellence following an open rigorous, merit-based evaluation benchmarked to the highest international standards.

“WACCI has proven its mettle and as a university we are proud the achievements of the centre till date’’.

The centre, he noted, in the last four years have produced PhD students including international students from across the sub-Saharan Africa region.

He added the admission into the centre continue to increase as there is increase in the demand and changing consumption patterns driven by rapid urbanization leading to rising net food imports which is expected to reach 110 billion dollars by 2025.

Welcoming participants on the topic: ‘Reaping the benefits of ten years of quality plant breeding education at work’’, the Director of WACCI Professor Eric Danquah, said the centre has demonstrated that in working with strategic partners and taking giant strides; the centre will be able to produce quality PhD graduates who are game changers and believe in marking history on the African continent.

All of the graduates have returned to their countries and are leading breeding programmes in West and Central Africa.

Education Minister Mathew Opoku Prempeh, on his part, noted the president, Nana Akufo-Addo is committed to creating more centres of excellence in the tertiary institutions.
The event was also attended by former Vice-President, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur and his wife, Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie-Akoto and the Managing Director of Stanbic Bank, Alhassan Andani, among others.

Source: The Finder

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