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AATF and WACCI to Explore Strategic Partnerships for Agricultural Transformation in Africa

Representatives from the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) have paid a visit to the University of Ghana's West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) to initiate discussions aimed at advancing agricultural innovations in Africa through biotechnology.

The visit was also to afford the Foundation the opportunity to gain a better understanding of WACCI’s research capabilities.

A group photo of participants


In welcoming the delegation, Prof. Eric Yirenkyi Danquah, the Founding Director of WACCI, provided an overview of the Centre’s sixteen-year history.

He revealed that “WACCI was established through a consortium of partners who worked closely with the Rockefeller Foundation to develop a structure similar to the African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI).”

Prof. Danquah identified practical cases of successful WACCI students who are making strides in their home institutions and underscored the importance of local training to the continent's agricultural development. “Africa will not benefit from their ingenuity had they not been trained in the sub-region,” he stressed.  

Proposing that WACCI and AATF lead strategic partnerships in Africa to mitigate key agricultural problems through biotechnology innovations, Prof. Danquah stated that “The outcome of these partnerships will be focused on training of plant breeders in Africa who are working on improving crop varieties for better yields.”

(Right to Left) Professor Eric Y. Danquah and Dr. Canisius K. Kanangire


The Executive Director of the AATF, Dr. Canisius K. Kanangire spoke about the Foundation's commitment to resolving food and nutrition security issues in sub-Saharan Africa over the last two decades.

“The Foundation, at present, is committed to creating ample opportunities through partnerships with research institutions like WACCI to advance the adaptation of biotechnology in plant breeding” he said.

Dr. Kanangire expressed concern about the lack of adequate political and policy support for local agricultural projects, stressing the need for support from African politicians and presidents to drive agricultural transformation in the region.

He stated, “I know we do not have everything, but we have the skills, and we can build more capacity here with the institutions we have. What we have been missing is the political and policy support.”

On the way forward, Dr. Kanangire proposed that AATF and WACCI forge strategic partnerships to promote biotechnology innovations in plant breeding, focus on enhancing crop varieties for improved yields and devise compelling strategies to mobilize substantial funds from African politicians and presidents in the region.

He also suggested joint efforts to enhance agricultural literacy among Ghanaian farmers, policymakers, and political leaders through seminars and workshops. “We are also interested in collaborating with WACCI to enhance the literacy of Ghanaian farmers, policymakers, and political leaders in agricultural biotechnology through seminars and workshops,” Dr. Kanangire highlighted.

To harness biotechnology and research to improve crop production, he proposed running short courses at WACCI to rigorously train researchers in genome editing and conventional breeding technologies.

The three-member delegation took the opportunity to tour WACCI’s Tissue Culture Laboratory, where they were introduced to the mechanisms of the various equipment the Centre relies on to advance research in genetic transformation.

Participants taking a tour of the Tissue Culture Laboratory


Members of the visiting delegation included Dr. Francis Kusi, Director of CSIR-Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), and Mr. Alex Abutu, Communication Officer of AATF, in charge of West & Central Africa.

Key WACCI staff present at the meeting were Prof. Kwadwo Ofori, Associate Director, Academic, and Student Affairs; Dr. Daniel Dzidzienyo, Deputy Centre Leader, WACCI-ACE; Dr. Agyemang Danquah, Coordinator, Academic Programmes; Dr. Theresa Ankamah-Yeboah, Deputy Coordinator, Academic Programmes, Dr. Mavis Osei-Wusu, Lecturer; Mrs. Barbara Dodoo-Arhin, Assistant Registrar/Centre Administrator and Dr. John S. Y. Eleblu, Coordinator, Research, Francophone Africa.

The meeting marked a significant step towards fostering collaboration between AATF and WACCI, with a shared vision of driving agricultural transformation in Africa through biotechnology innovations and capacity building.