Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta has pledged a sum of 1 million dollars to be donated to the West African Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) to improve Ghana’s food security.
The West African Centre for Crop Improvement equips plant breeders with the knowledge and skills to develop superior varieties of indigenous crops. This is expected to reduce imports of agric produce.
According to Ken Ofori- Atta, Ghana currently spends about 1.2 billion dollars in food imports alone, a situation he describes as unacceptable.
Speaking at the 10th anniversary ceremony of the WACCI, Mr. Ofori-Atta said the financial support should make Ghana self-sufficient in food production.
“Let me start the ball rolling by pledging from the Ministry of Finance 1 million dollars for the completion and furnishing of the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement building”
He further challenged the institute to pursue excellence in order to make it the greatest crop research Centre in Africa.
“I hope it will help and I expect it to become the greatest Centre for plant breeding education in Africa and the world and attract funding as such,”he said.
The one million dollars will part of the projected 35 million dollars targeted by the WACCI programme beyond the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa(AGRA) and World Bank funded phase.
The West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) is a partnership between the University of Ghana (UG) and Cornell University, USA that was established in June 2007 with funding from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) at the University of Ghana to train Plant Breeders in Africa working on the improvement of African crops in local environments for farmers in Africa.
Meanwhile the Vice President of AGRA, Dr. Joseph DeVries stated that Ghana is now capable of producing the best quality seeds to enhance crop production.
“Ghana now has strong capabilities in plant breeding, so I don’t see why Ghana cannot develop a whole new generation of crop varieties even the best in West Africa but it needs to be funded so the challenge of that now has to be thrown to the government to ensure its sustainability”.
By: Anita Arthur/citibusinessnews.om/Ghana