Dr. Daniel Ashie Kotey

Ag.Director, PGRRI

I am pleased to welcome you to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) - Plant Genetic Resources Research Institute (PGRRI), one of the 13 Institutes of the CSIR, the leading Scientific Research Institution in Ghana. The Institute is the national genebank of Ghana and it is located at Bunso, about 117 kilometers from Accra. The Institute was established in 1964 as the Plant Introduction and Exploration (PIE), a section of the Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the CSIR. The purpose of the PIE was to collect and maintain the plant germplasm of Ghana. Due to the scope of work carried out by the PIE and to conform to international naming formats for genebanks at the time, the name of the PIE was changed to the Plant Genetic Resources Unit (PGRU) in 1985. In August 1994, the Unit’s mandate was expanded and its status was elevated to that of a Centre, the Plant Genetic Resources Center (PGRC) of the CSIR. In 2005, the PGRC was upgraded to an Institute, the CSIR-PGRRI, with the mandate to collect, characterize, evaluate, conserve, document, distribute and utilize the plant genetic resources of Ghana. The objectives of the Institute are: to collect and conserve the plant germplasm of Ghana; to characterize, evaluate and document the Institute’s collection; to encourage the use of the collection by breeders, researchers and farmers; to serve as a national PGR coordinating agency and to engage in research relevant to its mandate.

To ensure the realization of its mandate to collect and conserve the plant genetic resources of Ghana for the benefit of current and future generations, the CSIR-PGRRI maintains a diverse germplasm collection composed of legume, cereal, vegetable, root and tuber, medicinal, spice plants, fruit, forest tree species and crop wild relatives. Both in-situ and ex-situ conservation strategies are used to maintain these crop collections at the CSIR-PGRRI. The activities undertaken at the CSIR-PGRRI fall under four of the seven thematic areas of the CSIR Strategic Plan 2021-2025, namely: Food security and poverty reduction; Climate change, environmental management and green technology; Biomedical and public health; Science and people

Notable successes chalked by the institute include: promoting the cultivation and processing of nutmeg and black pepper as non-traditional export crops. Conducting trials for the commercial cultivation and processing of citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus), an essential oil for the soap and perfume industries Identifying and promoting the utilization of taro (Colocasia esculenta) germplasm that is tolerant to the taro leaf blight disease. Developing an in-vitro propagation protocol for the production of ‘nibima’ (Cryptolepis sanguinolenta)

As materials of plant origin containing functional units of heredity with actual or potential value, PGRs are integral to crop improvement and the sustainable agricultural development of any nation. The PGRs of Ghana are therefore our collective national heritage. I therefore invite you to take a tour of the research facilities and fields of the CSIR-PGRRI to ascertain what role you can play in the sustainable conservation and utilization of Ghana’s plant genetic resources.