In 2016, as part of an agreement with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Ghana—Feed the Future Agriculture Technology Transfer (ATT) Project, Iowa State agreed to assess the capacity needs of the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI).
The SARI is one of 13 research institutes that falls under the umbrella of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Located in Nyankpala, Ghana, its mission is to conduct agricultural research in the Northern Ghana region to develop improved technologies to enhance overall farm productivity for improved livelihoods.
As part of the project, Seed Science Center Global Program Leader Dileepkumar Guntuku traveled to Ghana in February to conduct a needs assessment for the SARI. Following the report, a Core of Excellence team made up of experts in maize, soy, and rice seed value chains, business, and communications was established.
Guntuku traveled to Ghana again in June with University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign Associate Professor Lulu Rodriguez and Consultant David Benson. The team took part in a Core of Excellence planning meeting on the SARI campus. During the meeting, attendees discussed ways to improve seed research and supply, and improve information, education, and communication at the Institute. They also shared ideas for upgrading SARI infrastructure and research facilities.
In January 2017 the SARI Core of Excellence staff is scheduled to travel to the U.S. “They will take part in training at Iowa State, at the Soybean Innovation Lab at the University of Illinois in Urbana- Champaign and other Institutions,” said Guntuku. “This will allow them to observe modern research facilities, and will expose them to innovative science and institutional strategies. When they return to Ghana they will have the tools to enhance the SARI as well as the livelihoods of smallholders in the area.”