THE COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Reconstituted in 2004 by Statute 33 of the University’s Statutes, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) remains one of the most active and vibrant of the six Colleges of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), resonating excellence and dexterity in its core functioning. The College has a unique but challenging mandate to promote agricultural production, rural development and management of renewable natural resources in Ghana and worldwide through teaching, research, and outreach. In this process, the College is engaged in promoting agriculture and rural livelihoods, managing people, while training high calibre manpower with the requisite technical and entrepreneurial skills necessary for public and private enterprise development within the confines of its mandate.
Faculties and Research Centres
The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources has three Academic Faculties and four Research centres. These are the Faculty of Agriculture, Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources (FRNR) and Faculty of Forest Resources Technology (FFRT). The research centres are: Bureau of Integrated Rural Development (BIRD), KNUST Dairy/Beef Cattle Research Station, and Agricultural Research Station located at Anwomaso, and also the Centre for Biodiversity Utilisation and Development (CBUD), which has over the years remained practically dormant in its activities due to funding constraints. The creation of CBUD as a Centre was fortuitous and the present constraints were predictable. However, there are on-going discussion at the College level to rebrand the CBUD for a more effective research. The relocation of FFRT from its original confines in Sunyani has recently necessitated some rebranding efforts, without compromising its integrity and contribution to teaching, research and extension. There are on-going efforts to redefine its focus to avoid duplications and to buttress the relevance of its programmes.
The College offers 9 BSc programmes and these are BSc Agriculture, BSc Natural Resources Management, BSc Forest Resources Technology, BSc Post Harvest Technology and BSc Agribusiness Management. Others are BSc Dairy and Meat Science, and Technology and BSc Landscape Design and Management, Agricultural Biotechnology and BSc Aquaculture and Water Resources Management. The College also offers postgraduate programmes at the MSc, MPhil and PhD levels. The college has a student population of 3442 of which 244 are postgraduate students. There are 109 Academic staff in Senior Member positions and 194 in Senior and Junior staff positions. The programmes have a feminine gender proportion of about 40% while efforts continue to be made to mainstream gender inclusivity in our developmental efforts.
Research and Service to Community
The CANR continues to support collaborations with various institutions in and outside the confines of the University. The College is making considerable efforts to support the “One Village One factory” initiative by the President of the Republic of Ghana. To this end, the College with considerable support from the mainstream KNUST administration has commenced the establishment of a fruit processing factory at Mantukwa near Sunyani in the Brong-Ahafo Region. Authorizations and consents from the Food and Drugs Authority are being finalized for full production to commence. The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources remains in the frontline of the Government’s initiative on “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme. Prof. Richard Akromah, immediate past Provost of the College, has coordinated the cultivation of a 20.5 acre farm of corn at Anwomaso and they will be inter-planting with soya beans.
Recent research frontiers
The College has demonstrated a de-facto dexterity and skill in research, scientific publications, and leadership in grant winning proposals. The Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources is making considerable efforts for additional research grants. With funding from the UK Space Agency and Ecometrica, the Departments of Silviculture and Forest Management, in collaboration with the Forest Services Division, and the University of Edinburgh, are working to develop a strategy for the separation of natural forests and planted forest using applied GIS and remote sensing to elucidate and more accurately determine the extent of natural and plantation forestry. As a proxy to this, the project seeks to establish a Ghana Remote Sensing site for atmospheric carbon columns towards developing a Pan-African carbon network. The project seeks to primarily establish sustainable ground-based carbon remote sensing site at KNUST that produces high quality CO2 columns. It also seeks to develop new local measurement and modelling capabilities associated with atmospheric CO2.
The Department of Fisheries and Watershed Management has recently concluded both AquaFish (USAID) and DANIDA projects. The Department also has recently completed research on reservoir cage farming in northern Ghana mainly at Libga, Bolinga and Bontanga with funding from the Australian Government. The Department also has a state- of-the-art Field Container Laboratory and an Aquaponics unit powered by solar energy with funding from a DANIDA project.
The Faculty of Agriculture continues to make giant strides in research grant mobilizations. Dr. Vincent Logah, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Crop & Soil Sciences, received two grant awards totaling UK£1.15 million from the UK Royal Society for capacity building in Soil Science in collaborative arrangements with Imperial College London, University of Aberdeen in Scotland and Wageningen University and Research, the Netherlands. As part of the awards, a state-of-the-art CN elemental analyzer has been purchased for the Soil Science Laboratory. The Department of Animal Science continues to expand and intensify poultry and meat production and injecting more capital into its production. There is now a dedicated shop at the KNUST Commercial area on campus where meat and poultry products can be purchased under hygienic conditions.
Dr. Jacob Hamidu, a Senior Lecturer and hatchery expert at the Department of Animal Science together with a final year BSc Agricultural Biotechnology student (Mr. David Wakpal), and other 13 undergraduate students have manufactured and tested a fully automated incubator for hatching day old chicks of all poultry species.
Our major research Centre, the Bureau of Integrated Research and Development (BIRD) is coordinating the Education for Sustainable Development in Africa (ESDA) programme. The ESDA, initiated by the United Nations University (UNU) in Tokyo is designed to assist African universities to develop programmes to address sustainable development issues in Africa. BIRD has also been commissioned by the Ministry of Finance, Real Sector Division, Agriculture and Agribusiness Unit to undertake an assessment of the performance of private sector investment in agriculture in Ghana.
We take pride in the fact that we are the smallest college in terms of numbers but when it comes to research, publications, grant awards we stand really tall among all.