Biotech Updates

IITA, WACCI Team Up for Plant Breeding Development in Africa

July 6, 2012

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the West Africa Center for Crop Improvement (WACCI) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) to train plant breeders in Africa and boost the number of plant breeders in the continent. Under the MoU, WACCI, a center based at the University of Ghana, will send postgraduate students to IITA for three years to conduct research in plant breeding. Students will have access to IITA facilities and will be supervised by senior IITA scientists.

Prof. Eric Danquah, director of WACCI, said that African breeders will be briefed on the problems facing African crops with the hope that they will remain in Africa. He added that what the continent needs is an African approach to address Africa's food productivity challenges.

Over the years, the continent has been continuously suffering from shortage of experts in plant breeding with the best breeders training abroad but never coming back to the continent. Breeders on the continent are equally getting old and most of them are approaching retirement age. Africa, which desires to have its own Green Revolution, faces several threats on sustainable agriculture including biotic and abiotic stresses that limit productivity.

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