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September 19, 2010

Ghana to host training of West African soil scientists

by Kofi Adu Domfeh,

About $2.1 million is being invested over the next five years to train soil scientists for the West African sub-region. The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) has been selected to build a centre of excellence to oversee the project.

Twenty students from Baukina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Nigeria will be offered scholarships to undertake a four-year PhD programme at the university under the aegis of the Alliance for Green Revolution Africa (AGRA).

They are expected to contribute to the achievement of an envisaged six percent growth in Africa’s food production by 2015 under the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP).

Over 300 thousand dollars is already being invested in laboratory upgrade at the KNUST’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Constraints in soil fertility have been identified as key factor militating against high agricultural productivity in Africa. Degraded soils have resulted in very low yields and low agricultural production.

AGRA President, Dr. Namanga Ngongi noted, “If we do not take measures to prevent further degradation and improve productivity of land then the Green Revolution will be on very weak foundations… so we’re capitalizing on seeds, soils, on markets and the policy environment that will be able to sustain agriculture.”

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