Ghana country manager of AGRA Juliette Lampoh – Agroh has hailed the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) at the University of Ghana for its role in improving Africa’s food security.
She says WACCI has had an incredible influence on efforts to shape the future of food security in Africa through quality teaching, impact-driven research, extension, and community engagement.
She commended WACCI for graduating 105 Ph.D. and 40 MPhil students since its establishment about 16 years ago, noting that these graduates have successfully released 227 improved crop varieties in their various countries.
She was speaking at a ceremony at the University of Ghana to mark WACCI’s 16th Alumni Homecoming Celebration, under the theme: “Harnessing Human Capital in Plant Breeding for the Future of Food and Nutrition Security in Africa.”
“AGRA, as a forerunner for food systems transformation for a prosperous, food-secure, and inclusive Africa, shares many fundamental values with WACCI. With our collaborative efforts and unwavering commitment, we have worked tirelessly to empower smallholder farmers, strengthen Africa’s agri-food systems, and contribute effectively to the continent’s socioeconomic growth,” the AGRA country manager said.
“Today, we are proud to see WACCI alumni leading successful careers across the continent. Your accomplishments, dear alumni, are a testament not only to the quality of the institution that nurtured your talents but also to AGRA’s mission of driving lasting change in Africa’s agricultural landscape,” she added.
Madam Lampoh – Agroh observed that Africa’s agriculture remains challenged in many ways, identifying climate change, post-harvest losses, and a rapidly growing population as some of the issues needing immediate redress. She also observed Ghana’s food import bill has reached an average US$2 billion each year. “Clearly, we cannot continue on this trajectory. Recent happening with the global health crises and domestic economic crises dictates that we need to move faster and with more determination in enhancing domestic food production,” she observed.
Madam Lampoh – Agroh disclosed that in Ghana, AGRA has committed over the next five years to enable some 1.2 million smallholder farmers to graduate from subsistence farming to market-oriented and diversified farming systems.
She said as part of its new strategy, AGRA will seek to promote agriculture that builds farmers’ livelihoods today and protects their environment for tomorrow, ensure that farmers gain access to affordable high-quality climate/disease resistant seeds, and support governments to build food systems and to create an environment where farming businesses thrive.
Prof. Eric Y. Danquah, founding director of WACCI thanked AGRA for providing the seed funding that led to the establishment of WACCI. He assured WACCI will continue to work with its alumni to improve Africa’s food security.