NARC was created from the former Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. Its main mandate is to use nuclear and other related techniques to develop crop varieties of desirable traits for farmers. The research programmes of the Centre include:
A. Crop improvement/Plant Breeding Programme
- Mutation induction in crop plants that is aimed at
- increasing crop yield
- development of drought tolerant crop species
- pest and disease resistance plant species
- modification of products (starch, oil) for industrial use
- Conventional hybridisation
- Crop Physiology Research
Crop physiology is a basic research which have far reaching effect on farmers’ output. Current research on plant physiology focus on photosynthetic efficiency of crop plants (eg cassava), seed germination and water use efficiency in crop plants.
Together with Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, cassava mutant Tek Bankye was developed. It is high yielding with very good poundability. It was initially resistant to the African Cassava Mosaic Virus disease until resistance broke down. Tek bankye was among the cassava varieties used for the RTIMP, an IFAD sponsored project of MOFA. In a new TC project, the institute is improving the variety by using microspore irradiation to develop mosaic resistant varieties.
The Centre has also developed four cherry tomato mutants, cassava and Dioscorea esculenta (Chinese yam) which have to be tried at multilocational sites prior to their release.
The Centre is involved in oil palm project aimed at developing high yielding dwarf mutants for farmers. It is a joint project with the Oil Palm Research Institute (OPRI) at Kade. Concurrently running with this project is haploidization of oil palm using irradiated pollen grains. In collaboration with IITA, NARC is also involved in the development of high carotenoid rich cassava variety through mutagenesis.
B. Livestock production, Public health and Veterinary
There is a large deficit in Ghana’s protein requirement due to woefully inadequate production of livestock and poultry production to feed the over 25 million human population in the country. Consequently, Ghana has become a net importer of frozen meat. BNARI through its animal production unit under NARC is developing feed for production of low fat poultry birds. Currently, BNARI produces the best premium low fat poultry birds for sale in the country. Other research activities include the use of nuclear and related techniques to enhance animal production