By Adovor Nutifafa=
//Professor Eric Yirenkyi Danquah, the Director of West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), has disclosed that despite the fact that his outfit has developed a hybrid maize seeds, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture continues to import maize seeds from South Africa, subsidized it, and distributes to Ghanaian farmers under the Planting for Food and Jobs programme.
The Director of WACCI said his outfit was thinking about impacting Government seed policy so that their hybrid maize and tomato seeds can reach every Ghanaian farmer.
Currently, he said, WACCI are in partnership with the private sector to get their seeds onto the market.
The hybrid maize seeds which was developed as a result of funding from the World Bank according to the Director of WACCI must be planted by every Ghanaian farmer but because of Government policy, the seeds cannot reach Ghanaian farmers.
He was not happy that there is no programme to empower local entrepreneurs in the seed sector for their seeds to reach farmers, noting that Ghanaian seed producers cannot compete with imported seeds on the market.
Professor Danquah made this disclosure when Jaime Saavedra, Global Director for Education, World Bank paid a working visit to WACCI and The West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious and Non-Communicable Diseases (WACCBIP) at the University of Ghana.
The World Bank had been funding WACCI to train plant breeders and scientists in Ghana since 2015.
As a result, WACCI had been in the forefront of educating farmers on best practices in order for them to increase yield and productivity.
It has also trained agric extension agents, entrepreneurs as well as equipping the youth and motivating them to turn their knowledge, skills and ideas into innovation.
In over five workshops, WACCI, had been named as the number one centre of excellence in Africa.
At WACCBIP, Dr. Lydia Mosi, the Deputy Director of Administration, WACCBIP said her outfit has positioned itself to create an enabling environment and a hub for training African scientist who are hungry for change.
Jaime Saavedra reiterated similar comments he made at WACCI.
The purpose of Jaime Saavedra visit is to learn about how the ongoing US$60 million first Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence for Development Impact Project had been utilized to improve the quality and relevance of their cause of offering and research.
The visit also provides opportunity for the Global Director for Education, World Bank to interact with teachers, Directors, Ghanaian students who provided insights on academic experience and post graduate plans.
Addressing staff and students of WACCI, Jaime Saavedra said investing in basic, technical and higher education would inure to the socio-economic development of Africa because the brain power of the African students would be developed through education.
The development of the brain power of students, he adds, would ultimately lead to the development of the much needed human capital for the continent.
He paid glowing tribute to the staff and students of WACCI for their research work, saying it would translate into development.