A statement issued by the Centre and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Friday, said the new facility, estimated to cost about $ 2.4 million would take a projected duration of 18 months to complete.

It said the facility would house offices, lecture rooms, bioinformatics platform, seed science laboratory, tissue culture laboratory, a library and conference and meeting rooms.

It said the world-class PhD training in Plant Breeding and MPhil in Seed Science and Technology would be scaled up as the Centre begins the construction of a multi-purpose facility.

The statement said the Centre invites the university community, stakeholders, development partners and the public to witness this historic ground-breaking ceremony, which would be jointly performed by the UG Vice-Chancellor Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu and Founding Director of WACCI Prof Eric Yirenkyi Danquah.

It said the construction of the building, which is being funded by the World Bank Africa Centres of Excellence (ACE) Project and the Centre’s internally generated funds, is integral to WACCI’s dream of using the ACE project as a springboard for transforming the Centre into a sustainable Centre of Excellence for training quality plant breeders and seed scientists.

The ACE Project, is a World Bank sponsored initiative, aimed at promoting regional specialization in disciplinary fields (such as Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Health, and Agriculture) that address regional development challenges, as well as facilitate the delivery of high quality training and applied research, and meet the skills demand of the regional labour market.

WACCI, which is one of the 22 ACEs selected by the World Bank in collaboration with the Association of African Universities (AAU) following an open, rigorous, merit-based competition, has been ranked as the leading ACE in resource mobilization in three successive evaluations by the AAU.

The Centre has increased initial investments from $ 5.8 million to over $ 26.0 million and is expected to scale up activities from January 2018 with increased institutional support from the University of Ghana.

WACCI was established in June 2007 with funding from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to train 40 Plant Breeders at the PhD level at the UG.

Today, the Centre has evolved into the largest PhD in Plant Breeding education programme in Africa, having enrolled 98 PhDs students from 16 countries and graduated 35 who are at the forefront of developing high yielding and climate-smart varieties of staple crops to increase productivity in farmers’ fields in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Centre expects to graduate an additional 18 PhD students in Plant Breeding at the University’s July 2017 graduation ceremony.

The Centre collaborates with Cornell University, USA, the National Agricultural Research Institutions (NARIs) in Africa where most of these students have been drawn from and the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research Institutions among other world class institutions.

Source: GNA/NewsGhana.com.gh


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