WACCI Seeks AATF Partnership On Gene Editing

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    By; KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna

    The West African Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) has invited the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) to jointly set up a gene editing platform to fast-track crop improvements using modern technologies.

    A statement signed by the AATF Communication Officer (West & Central Africa), Alex Abutu, made available to our correspondent at the weekend, said that this was disclosed by WACCI Associate Director, Prof Kwadwo Ofori, when he received the AATF pod borer research team led by the project manager, Dr. Jean Baptiste, in Accra, Ghana.

    WACCI is a leading centre for training plant breeders in Africa and its scientists have produced more than 60 improved seed varieties in the last decade. Prof Ofori said establishing a gene editing platform would expedite research and help countries to address crop improvement challenges, especially those beyond conventional breeding methods.

    Welcoming the idea, Dr Baptiste said AATF would be happy to work with the Centre to train more experts to seek innovative solutions to food and nutritional security in Africa.

    He said AATF was already working with leading research organisations in African and adding WACCI to the group would advance its mandate of promoting prosperity through technology.

    WACCI was founded by Prof. Eric Yirenkyi Danquah, winner of the 2022 African Food Prize for training African agricultural scientists in Africa and for Africa.

    Prof Danquah established WACCI in 2007 at the University of Ghana, with the “aim of training a new generation of plant breeders to develop improved varieties of staple crops in West and Central Africa”.

    Through his leadership, WACCI has grown into a world class centre for training plant breeders in Africa and attracted more than US$30 million of research and development funding and trained more than 120 PhD and 49 MPhil students in seed science and technology from 19 African countries.

    The institution boasts of a new molecular biology/tissue culture laboratory, a bioinformatics platform, and cutting-edge university farms, including a US$300,000 ultra-modern screen house for controlled experiments.

    AATF is an international not-for-profit organization that is empowering smallholder farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa with a wide choice of agricultural innovations that contribute to food and nutrition security to generate health and wealth for their families and communities.

    Established in 2003 as an African-led entity, AATF works with public and private partners across the full food value chain to access, develop, deliver and commercialize innovative technologies that bring meaningful change to Africa’s agriculture.

    AATF is driven by a vision of a prosperous and food-secure Africa, one where millions of smallholder farmers can transform African agriculture with the same innovations that are transforming food production around the world.

    AATF believes that farmers in Africa will become globally competitive through the use of the best technology, optimal agricultural practices, strategic product value addition and boosted access to efficient markets within and outside Africa.

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