Center Title and Acronym: WACCI – African Centre of Excellence (ACE) for Training Plant Breeders, Seed Scientists and Technologists (WACCI-ACE)

Host University and Country: University Of Ghana, Legon, Ghana

Center Website Address:

Center Director and email address: Professor Eric Danquah (

Primary Thematic Discipline of Center: Postgraduate Training in Plant Breeding and Seed Science and Technology


Brief Description of Center:

The West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) was established at the University of Ghana in 2007 with initial funding from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to train the next generation of Plant Breeders at the PhD level over a 10-year period for West Africa.  The PhD programme involves course instruction at the University of Ghana and theses research at students’ home institution. An innovative masters programme in seed science and technology was launched under the African Centres of Excellence (ACE) project in 2015. Working with over 40 national, regional and international partners, WACCI equips the next generation of plant breeders and seed scientists with the knowledge and skills needed for the inclusive transformation of agriculture in the sub-region.


Key Objectives and Expected Outcomes:

  • admit and train 65 PhD students in Plant Breeding and 60 MPhil students in Seed

Science and Technology between 2014 and 2018

  • expand, modernize and strengthen the WACCI breeding programme
  • review and introduce new curricula and equip the Biotechnology Centre for cutting-edge research and training
  • host world-class visiting faculty including Africans in the diaspora
  • grant short-term external fellowships in advanced laboratories to WACCI PhD students
  • arrange three months internships for Seed Science and Technology students for hands-on training
  • strengthen research collaboration with advanced institutions
  • open up for mentoring of WACCI PhD and MPhil students by scientists in advanced laboratories


Major Accomplishments to Date:

  • 108 PhD students in plant breeding enrolled out of which 52 have graduated
  • Three high yielding (9-11 t/ha) hybrid maize varieties developed at WACCI have been approved for release
  • strengthened existing partnerships, doubled initial investments and doubled initial enrollment targets
  • expanded and improved facilities at the model teaching and research farm
  • commenced construction of multi-purpose building to house lecture rooms, labs, offices, conference facilities
  • mobilized over US$7 million from external sources


Primary Regional and Global Partners:

  • National Agricultural Research Institutes, West and Central Africa
  • International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Nigeria
  • Cornell University, United States of America
  • Iowa State University, United States of America


Senior Faculty Email Address Research Area
Prof. Eric Danquah Plant Molecular Genetics
Prof. Samuel Offei Plant Molecular Virology
Prof. Kwadwo Ofori Plant Breeding and Genetics
Prof. Pangirayi Tongoona Plant Breeding and Genetics