The Director of the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), Professor Eric Y. Danquah, has commended the External Review Panel that was commissioned in January 2015 to review WACCI’s operations since inception in 2007. The panel was mandated to make recommendations for transforming the Centre from a time-bound donor-sponsored project into a sustainable Centre of Excellence for training plant breeders and seed scientists in Africa.
The Review Panel interacting with the Vice-Chancellor, University of Ghana
Receiving a signed copy of the full report in his office on Wednesday, June 17, 2015, the Director of WACCI indicated that the Centre has noted and accepted the primary recommendations of the Panel and will work towards full adoption in the shortest possible time. He informed the Panel that a number of the recommendations made were already being implemented and the Panel’s assessment that WACCI would be well positioned to join the ranks of the top-tier institutes educating plant breeding professionals globally was well within attainment in the next few years. Professor Danquah added that a number of WACCI graduates have become ‘game changers’ in national breeding programmes in West Africa and he had no doubt that the world will celebrate the contribution of WACCI to food security in Africa soon. The Director thanked the Review Team for endorsing his leadership, which the Team described as being visionary and informed the panel that the necessary structures to sustain developments at the Centre had been put in place. In particular, there is great enthusiasm about the establishment of two new Masters-level degree programmes, one in Seed Science and Technology and the other in Genetics and Plant Breeding, which will create an educational pathway from BSc to PhD in preparation for careers in crop improvement. He also indicated that the staff development programme in place was trans-generational and academics capable of leading WACCI in the future will emerge. Professor Danquah informed the Panel that the Governing Board of the key sponsor, The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), had in a recent letter, hailed the leadership and staff of WACCI for the sterling management of the Centre and pledged to continue the partnership with WACCI to develop the next generation of plant breeders needed to develop superior varieties of staple crops to assure food and nutritional security in Africa during environmental change.
The Panel in a group photograph with the Vice-Chancellor, University of Ghana