The West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) has led a consortium to win a US$1 million grant from the African Union (AU) to work with government and industry partners on Crop and Soil Health Improvement for sustainable Agricultural Intensification Towards Economic Transformation in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The 3-year project aims to address issues related to the food and nutrition security objectives of the AU under its Competitive Research Grants Scheme supported by the European Union.
WACCI was established in 2007 at the University of Ghana (UG) as a partnership between UG and Cornell University, USA with an initial US$ 11.5 million funding from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to train Plant Breeders in West and Central Africa who will deliver improved crop varieties to farmers in the region. The Centre has to date more than doubled the initial investments to US$ 28 million and is now one of the World Bank Africa Centres of Excellence. It has enrolled 114 PhDs and graduated 52 students since inception.
WACCI celebrated its 10th anniversary in June 2017 and launched a US$ 50 million endowment fund. A new strategic plan recently developed will evolve WACCI into a sustainable platform for agricultural innovations needed for the inclusive transformation of agriculture in SSA. This African Union Commission project brings on board new partners including the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Crop Research Institute (CSIR-CRI), Kumasi Ghana, Institute de l’Environment et de Recherche Agricoles (INERA), Burkina Faso and National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Nigeria. Other planned partners are Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA), Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and the Federation of Young Farmers Ghana (FYFGh).
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, who signed the project agreement on February 9, 2018, congratulated the WACCI team for winning the competitive research grant. The Principal Investigators for the project are Professor Eric Danquah and Dr. John S. Y. Eleblu. The collaborators on the project are Prof. Pangirayi Tongoona 9WACCI), Dr. Beatrice Ifie (WACCI), Dr. Maxwell Asante, CSIR-CRI, Kumasi, Dr. Valantine Traore, INERA, Burkina Faso, Dr. Dorcas Ibitoye, NIHORT, Nigeria, and Prof. Rodomiro Ortiz, SLU, Sweden. Dr. Agyemang Danquah and Dr. Daniel Dzidzienyo of WACCI will coordinate key activities of the project.