Profile of Biochemical Products Ghana Ltd
Biochemical Products Ghana Ltd was incorporated in 1996 to develop biochemical innovations for agriculture and health. In 1998 the company established the Ningo Biotechnology Centre. This involved the construction of a complex of offices, state of the art laboratory, a screen house and an irrigated parent garden at New Ningo. The state of the art laboratory consists of preparatory, autoclave, dissection/transfer and growth rooms. The complex was to develop and use tissue culture technology to produce large numbers of planting materials and seedlings of selected indigenous food crops.

Front view of laboratory office complex

Main screen house

Rear view of office laboratory complex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equipment and instrumentation
The facility has a current installed capacity of one million or more plantain and banana suckers per annum.

Agriculture in Ghana would derive the following benefits from the establishment of the Ningo Biotechnology Centre.   

These are:
(a) Provision of a ready supply of large quantities of planting material of target crops for commercial farmers and out growers, with potential for export to other African countries. 
(b) To facilitate the introduction of improved, high yielding and disease resistant varieties of the target crops from international breeding programs and germplasm banks to which Ghana is a contributor and should benefit without quarantine risks.
(c) Opportunity for Ghana to acquire indigenous capability to apply this technology through skills training and establishment of other such laboratories for the production and distribution of selected planting material for large-scale farming.  

The main advantages of tissue culture are:
1/ Elimination of diseases: Bacterial and fungal diseases in parent stock are removed during the surface sterilization steps preceding tissue culture, while viruses can be inactivated by heat treatment or removed by meristem culture techniques.
2/ Rapid multiplication: while current methods multiply planting stock by 10 to 25 fold, tissue culture effects a thousand fold or more multiplication of the starting material. 
3/ Media manipulation enables the production and multiplication of difficult to propagate plants such as several forest tree species currently in dangerously low stocks but for which seedlings are difficult to obtain. The same technology, and in effect, the same facility can be used for every plant species amenable to tissue culture such as pawpaw, cashews, coffee and cola.
4/ The traditional methods are often limited to some times of the year and endangered by environmental factors. Tissue culture is not thus limited, and could provide a basis for year round irrigated, large-scale production.
5/ Valuable parent stocks free of virus can be easily maintained for long periods with only periodic sub-culturing.
6/ Tissue culture presents an ideal form of export of plant material; large numbers of plants can be exported in small, lightweight containers, free of soil and thus minimizing quarantine problems.  In the same way, tissue culture is also an ideal form in which to import new cultivars and thus improve local stocks.
7/ Micro-propagation results in plants more uniform in their superior quality than traditionally propagated plants.

Food crops in parent garden
The crops selected for propagation are plantain, banana and pineapples.  These crops are characterized by the fact that they do not produce seed.  Traditionally farmers rely on their vegetative parts for planting the next crop. The traditional process called clonal propagation while good for the maintenance of the true-to type qualities often results in genetic weakening due to diseases, pests and extreme weather. 

Tissue culture can be applied to any plant species. Our preference is to focus on those plants which do not produce seeds, or those with seeds with poor germination rates.

The company has also assembled an elite collection of plantain cultivars from the Ghana’s leaders in agricultural research (Crops Research Institute of the CSIR, and the Agricultural Research Centre, Kade, of the University of Ghana) in a parent garden providing the explants for tissue culture. 

Training
The company trains on site at the Ningo facility persons, with qualifications ranging from SSSCE/WASSCE to tertiary diplomas and degrees in all aspects of plant tissue culture technology.

Products for market
Products are available as rooted plantlets in tissue culture vessels, rooted and acclimatized in seed trays or in soil bags.

Culture vessels in controlled environment growth rooms

Plantlets from culture vessels acclimatized in seedling trays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Protected Agriculture
Anti-insect screen house enables production of quality vegetables and flowers without use of insecticides.

Aeroponic Screen HouseThe anti-insect screen house locally designed and fabricated using local materials.  It can thus be recommended for protected agriculture not dependent on imported technology for the production of high quality vegetables in soil-less conditions for the local and export markets.

Advocacy for Science education and application for national development
Biochemical Products Ghana Ltd has also hosted numerous groups from high schools, colleges and universities, government departments and institutes, and visitors from agriculture departments from Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria etc. Others call in from across the globe to make enquiries about our processes and availability of our products.

Key Clients
Public and private institutions, individual farmers from Eastern, Central, Greater Accra, Ashanti and Volta regions

Governance and Management

Sammy Sackey, majority shareholder and Managing Director of Biochemical Products Ghana Ltd has BSc  and MPhil degrees in Biochemistry from the University of Ghana, Legon and a PhD in Agricultural Sciences from the Waite Agricultural Research Institute, University of Adelaide, South Australia. . In he was appointed research officer in the Plant Physiology and Biochemistry Division Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), Tafo.  In 1999 he joined the University of Ghana on a full time basis.

Both at CRIG and the University of Ghana he filled several administrative and leadership roles including head of department, membership of boards and management committees. His training in biochemistry, molecular biology and biotechnology and burning desire to put science into action, led to the establishment of this  Ningo Biotechnology Centre at Ningo in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. 

Sammy has been a visiting scholar in several prestigious institutions including John Innes Institute UK, University of Minnesota, CIRAD in Montpelier France, Institute of Biochemistry and Plant Virology, Braunschweig, Germany .Locally he has played his part in.