The West African Centre for Crop Improvement, WACCI, University of Ghana has successfully graduated its 10th cohort of PhD Plant Breeding Candidates at a ceremony held on July 29, 2022 at the forecourt of the Great Hall, University of Ghana. The ceremony saw ten candidates, comprising three females and seven males, being conferred doctorate degrees in plant breeding. The candidates come from six countries in Africa: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria and Tanzania.
The graduation of this year’s students (Dr. Sandra Esi Odonkor, Dr. Alfousseiny Mahamane Maiga, Dr. Uchendu Ugochukwu Kelechi, Dr. Wisdom Edem Anyomi, Dr. Andekelile Saloni Mwamahonje, Dr. Yonas Moges Gelaw, Dr. Atanda Sikiru Adeniyi, Dr. Stanley Esther Adekemi, Dr. Boubacar Sinare, and Dr. Alimatu Sadia Osuman) coincides with the Centre’s 15th year anniversary. This was acknowledged with a soiree, themed “Fifteen Years of Quality Plant Breeding Education in Africa”.
The candidates researched on building resilience in crops, developing crop hybrids, and increasing yield of indigenous African crops like groundnut, maize, tomato, common bean, shea and cassava. Their research will contribute immensely to the growth of agriculture and food sustainability in their various countries and the continent as a whole.
WACCI since its inception in 2007 has grown into one of the largest PhD education programmes in the world and evolved over the years into a leading Centre of Excellence in agricultural innovation and entrepreneurship. The Centre which was established with a seed grant from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to train plant breeders at the PhD level for five countries in the West African sub-region has currently graduated 105 PhD students from 15 African countries.
All the graduates but two are currently leading breeding programmes in the National Agricultural Research Systems in their home countries and have generated innovations (over 290 improved varieties and 250 publications) which are positively impacting agricultural development on the continent. They have also attracted over US$ 37 million to the home institutions for infrastructural development and research projects. This lends credence to the philosophy behind the WACCI project, training Africans on African crops in Africa for the future of food and nutrition security on the continent.