WELCOME ADDRESS DELIVERED BY THE VICE CHANCELLOR, UCC AT THE SAFE REGIONAL TECHNICAL WORKSHOP AT THE SASAKAWA CONFERENCE CENTRE, UCC ON SEPTEMBER 13, 2010
Heads of Departments of UCC and of Sister Universities of The SAFE Program In Africa The SAFE Directors And Coordinators in Africa
Representatives of the ministry of Agriculture of the Countries Represented Here, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I bring greetings and a warm welcome from the entire community of the University of Cape Coast to the official opening of SAFE Regional Technical Workshop and to the only University of Choice in Ghana. We are sited within the reach of world class tourist attractions: historic Cape Coast town, the Cape Coast and Elmina Castles, the famous Kakum National Park with its canopy walkway, all these and more situated in a rich cultural setting, very welcoming peoples, good food and a most friendly climate. It rained early this morning. We interpret rainfall as a sign of good things to come. Like the rainfall, may the outcome of your deliberations be a blessing to our continent and to humanity.
Mr. Chairman, Higher Education Institutions (HEI) all over the world including Africa are becoming increasingly, more demand-driven with the realization that we are meant to provide quality academic services to enable our beneficiaries cope in a complex and competitive world. We thus continue to evolve policies that ensure the relevance and responsiveness of our programs to contemporary challenges and the job market. The University of Cape Coast regularly reviews all its programmes and courses in the faculties and schools to align them to the dynamism of changing needs.
Ladies and gentlemen, the school of agriculture, in response to this policy is reviewing its programmes and courses to meet the requirements of its students as the ultimate users of our academic produce. As an advocate of useful change I welcome and support all efforts that enhance the relevance of HEIs especially, in our region where food security and poverty continue to pose challenges.
Mr. Chairman, I am aware that this workshop is aimed at examining the implications of mainstreaming Agricultural Value Chain Approach to curriculum revitalization in SAFE institutions in Africa. In my simple understanding, agricultural value chain is about knowing what consumers of agricultural products want, and producing in collaboration with other actors (e.g. input dealers, distributors, and retailers) based on sound agricultural principles for higher and/or more stable prices and volume, access to market, decreased transaction costs and product quality to meet their need something we should all aim at. All creatures deserve quality products.
Mr. Chairman, this timing of this workshop is judicious, especially at a time when Governments in Sub-Saharan Africa are seeking ways to create wealth in poor communities and to promote equitable economic growth and wealth redistribution. Graduates from our universities should be at the frontline in assisting our governments to achieve this. This will mean that our curricula should provide our agricultural extension students both with knowledge in crop and animal production, and extension methodologies, and also, strategies for assisting low-income entrepreneurs (farmers) to compete in globalized markets where they have a comparative advantage. The value chain approach is a tested way to realize a plan that aims at raising the quality of life for us all.
To conclude, I would like to express my gratitude to the organizers of this conference and to congratulate them for the good works they continue to do.
A general welcome to everyone, once again, but a special one is extended to our first time visitors. I made reference to our geographical and cultural setting. Do avail yourself of these opportunities for visit and experience, as I hope this is not your last visit. Enjoy your stay here! I wish you all successful and fruitful deliberations. Thank you.