WACCI Director addresses African Universities Conference

Accra, June 11, GNA – Food insecurity in Africa today is a direct consequence of the lack of investments in agriculture, Professor Eric Y. Danquah, Director of the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), has said.

He said quality human capital is needed to develop new varieties of staple crops as part of efforts to address food insecurity on the continent.

Prof Danquah said this when addressing more than 250 participants at the Conference of Rectors, Vice Chancellors and Presidents of African Universities (COREVIP) organized in Kigali, Rwanda.

The Conference was organised by the Association of African Universities, which made the documents available to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Thursday.

‘Productivity increases of about 60 per cent of current levels are needed to ensure food security by 2050,’ Prof Danquah said.

The situation, he said, calls for a drastic investment in agriculture and quality human capital development by stakeholders.

In line with this, he lauded the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) for launching plant breeding education programmes at both the masters and doctorate levels in a number of Universities in sub-Saharan Africa.

Making his presentation at a plenary session on Emerging Centers of Excellence at the COREVIP, Prof Danquah expressed wonder why African governments have not learnt lessons from the Brazilian Agricultural Development success which was underpinned by aggressive human capital development.

He said WACCI was established by AGRA in the University of Ghana in June 2007 to address the challenge of inadequate quality human capital to improve food security in Africa,

He recalled how past students of the Centre have become game changers in national breeding programmes in West Africa.

Prof Danquah shared the recommendations of the WACCI Review, 2015 which concluded that WACCI is poised to have a tremendous impact on food security in the next decade.

He called on the leadership of African Universities to give emerging centres of excellence the flexibility they need to grow, citing WACCI’s status as a semi-autonomous unit in the University of Ghana as a major contributing factor to its growth through resource mobilisation from multiple donors and strategic partnerships.

The WACCI was established in 2007 as a partnership between the University of Ghana and Cornell University, US with initial funding from AGRA to train plant breeders, at the PhD level, with expertise to improve the indigenous crops that feed the people of the sub-region.


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