The University of Ghana (UG) is focusing on research in its programes restructuring as it strides to provide cross cutting edge research products to provide solutions to Ghana?s economic and development issues. ??

university of ghanaThe university is therefore focusing on four distinct research areas namely food production and processing (emphasis on plant breeding), malaria, climate change adaptation and policy evaluation.

?The UG seeks to become a research university to provide solutions to the problems that confronts the economy and generally the society in the areas of food, malaria, climate change and evaluation of policy??, the vice chancellor of UG, Professor Ernest Aryeetey said at a press conference in Accra.

The plan has led to restructuring of the colleges into four such as basic and applied sciences, humanities, education and health to execute the initiative, he said.

He said the idea is to make way for an effective and efficient delivery of services in terms of academics, research, and larger breath of programmes as well as to make the four year PhD programmes more practical based through training.

Prof Aryeetey said the university will need four million cedis to undertake the restructuring as a result the university council in consultation with students leaders have decided to introduce a levy of 100 cedis on students to raise the funds.

The levy is a onetime payment but students have the option to pay in two instalments after consultations with students leaders of the university.

Prof Kwame Offei, provost of college of agriculture and consumer sciences in an interview said basically the UG is aspiring to be a research university means placing more emphasis on research and post graduate training rather than undergraduate which has been the case.

He noted that plant breeding offers new plants products which will be able to survive within the constraints farmers are operating currently, such as drought as well as pests and diseases.

?With time we have to generate new products because we have changes within the environment for instance the rainfall duration have become shorter meaning? crops in the field will not be able to produce to their best given their genetic potential.

?That means we need to breed new crops that can withstand all these conditions and still give good yields to enhance farmers productivity??, Prof Offei added.

Prof Offei said if there is sufficient funding then a lot more can be achieved to guarantee agricultural productivity in the country.

Eric Danquah, director of West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), University of Ghana says the productivity of crop lands is very low so there is the need for new crop varieties which could withstand the adverse effects?? of the weather.

?So what we are doing is to develop new crop varieties which have the ability to provide high yields and are resistant to diseases and pests??, he said.

WACCI which will train plant breeders under the initiative works with all research institutions in West Africa, and in Ghana is working with the crop research institute and the savannah agricultural institute of the council for scientific and industrial research. The centre works on crops including maize, rice, cowpea, soya bean, cassava, millet and sorghum.

?What we do is that we involve farmers in the problem identification stage so farmers are aware of our work and so when varieties are developed we test the varieties on farm in the final stage with farmers to demonstrate to farmers that the varieties are good to ensure adoption of the varieties.

?We are working hard to increase productivity of the crop plants that farmers cultivate in their fields. If farmers adopt our varieties which we will develop and release in the fields their yields will be high. We believe that this will make impact in the country because production will go up??, he emphasised.



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