My name is Issah Abdul-Rashid and my journey in agriculture began at the Ghana Secondary School (GHANASCO) in Tamale where I studied Agriculture science and then moved to the University for Development Studies in Nyankpala where I pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture Technology.
After graduation, I undertook my National Service with the Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) which is under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) where I worked with the Entomology Section headed by Dr. Abudulai Mumuni. I was then employed as a Principal Technical Officer on the Legumes Improvement Program of the Institute under the supervision of Dr. N. N. Denwar, the Head of the Breeding Program with a very solid team that also included Dr. Richard Oteng-Frimpong, a breeder. I have also received extensive training on breeding methods in groundnuts from ICRISAT, as well as methods of performing crosses on soybean and cowpea.
I have henceforth developed a deep passion for crop improvement and seed systems in Northern Ghana where majority of the inhabitants are engaged in farming. As a technical officer with CSIR-SARI, I have always worked on the production of breeder and foundation seeds of groundnuts, maize, cowpea and soybeans. I have also been involved with experiments on aflatoxin contamination in groundnuts, forliar diseases, early maturing and drought tolerant groundnut experiments amongst others. Also, I have worked with scientists in conducting Participatory Varietal Selection (PVS) and On-farm demonstrations with farmer based organisations (FBO’s) and Innovation Platforms (IP), all in Northern Ghana.
This Mphil program with WACCI has strengthened my knowledge in solving the challenges facing the seed sector in Ghana and making improved and quality seeds available to small holder farmers. It has also enabled me to understand the challenges facing Seed Enterprises and how to improve upon their efficiency in solving the seed challenges facing farmers in Ghana. Identification and controlling of seed management practices under tropical environments and how to effectively evaluate threshing techniques, seed quality and seed storage amongst others. I have also had extensive training in Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) at the Wageningen Center for Development Innovation in the Netherlands, seed production of open pollinated and hybrid seeds of maize at IITA, Nigeria and seed production techniques in vegetable crops at the Indian Institute of horticultural Research, Bengaluru.