USAID to back univ. on agric research

?????????????????????????????The University of Ghana (UG), has signed a US$2.9million agreement with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to promote higher education in agricultural research and innovation in the country.

The five-year agreement will support Masters and PhD programmes at the College of Applied and Basic Sciences, School of Agriculture and the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI).

It will also assist young Ghanaian scientists to obtain world-class training in plant breeding, soil science, crops and agribusiness and help to boost economic growth and transformation in the country.

At the signing ceremony in Accra yesterday Mr. Andy Karas, acting Mission Director of USAID, Ghana, noted that agriculture was key to drive the economy of Africa, stressing that, attaining economic growth would depend on research into agriculture.

“Research is the cornerstone for innovations in agriculture and economic growth”, he said.

He said the support would ensure that future innovations in agricultural research and growth would be led by Ghanaians who were trained in the country.

Mr. Karas said USAID supported UG because it was the premier university in the country coupled with the quality of researches undertaken in the university, as well as the commitment of USAID towards achieving food security and prosperity in Africa.

He called for closer collaboration and partnership between the university and those in the USA to enhance agricultural education among the two countries.

Professor John Gyapong, Pro-Vice Chancellor at the Office for Research, Innovation and Development (ORID) at UG, expressed gratitude to USAID for the support and reiterated their commitment to ensure prudent use of the monies for research, and also ensure effective financial accountability.

He said under the agreement, the university, besides training Masters and PhD students, would also offer training to extension officers at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), and farmers to help in the country’s bid to attaining food security.

Prof. Eric Danquah, Director of WACCI, stressed that Africa needed new crops in order to ensure food security on the continent in the future.

He said only few Ghanaians could afford training at the centre, stating that the funding would help more Ghanaians to enrol at WACCI to help in the development of new crops.

Prof. John Ofosu-Anim, Dean of the School of Agriculture, said the funding would contribute to building human capacity in agriculture in the country and also help improve the soil fertility to increase yields.

  By Joseph Edu Archison

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