Prof Eric Danquah
The Director of the West African Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), Prof Eric Danquah, asserted the need for drastic change in the continent’s food production methods if it wants to pursue the vision of zero hunger by 2030. Prof. Danquah made these remarks at the just ended International Conference on Food and Nutrition Security in Africa held at the University of Ghana under the theme “The March Towards A Hunger-Free Africa”.
He explained that in attaining food security for the continent; the role of Centres of Innovations is indispensable and should receive support from government. He added that governments in the sub-Saharan have to create more opportunities in the agricultural sector so as to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of food security.
The two-day conference, which was formally opened by Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture, was organised by WACCI as part of activities marking the 70th Anniversary of the University.
Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, noted that following the successes chalked in the implementation of the “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme, the Government would from next year introduce a new programme dubbed: “Rearing for Food and Jobs”. He explained that the “Rearing for Food and Jobs” would focus more on promoting the poultry industry in the country.
Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture
Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, Vice-Chancellor of the University, called on African governments to increase investments in agriculture in order to ensure food security on the continent. He mentioned that conversations on food and nutrition security had taken centre stage globally, because of the urgency for the world to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
Giving an overview of WACCI, Prof. Danquah said WACCI was an institution with a glorious past and future; adding that the Centre was one of the top-tier higher education institutions globally in plant breeding and related subjects impacting food and nutrition security in Africa and beyond.
Prof. Danquah mentioned that 11 years ago, the Centre received its first grant of five million dollars from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). “Today, WACCI stands as the pre-eminent Centre for plant breeding education at the PhD level in all of Africa, by current enrolments, graduations, partnerships and investments, prepared to lift millions out of hunger and poverty,” he added.
According to Prof. Danquah, the Centre wants to become an unparalleled Centre of Excellence. In view of this they were leading a consortium of partners, both public and private, including civil society groups to establish a global platform for agricultural innovation and entrepreneurship driven by science and technology to make Africa’s dream of food and nutrition security realized in our lifetime.
Prof. Danquah expressed hope that the conference would open doors for the collaborations needed for urgent action to address the challenges of African agriculture.
Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana with officials and special guests after the event
Over 100 participants including academics, researchers, representatives of civil society organisations and policy makers from across the globe attended the conference.
Present at the ceremony was the Provost of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, Prof. Daniel Asiedu.
Group picture of participants