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Dr. Maxwell Darko Asante


For Maxwell Darko Asante a rice breeder from Ghana his motivation to learn more about crops stems in part from his secondary school years in the eastern town of Akropong-Akuapem.Maxwell whose father was a secondary school English teacher and mother was a primary school teacher remembers one of his teachers Aboa Offei who inspired him.
He was a very practical agriculture teacher " Maxwell said. "We would go to the school farm and he told us the process of raising the seed beds and growing things like cabbage tomato and pepper. He also had memorable experiences around his family's dinner table. "My dad and mum always tried to help people " he said. "We were living on the school campus and so many of his students were coming to our home to eat. The food from the dining hall was not enough. Maxwell earned a bachelor's degree in general agriculture at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana where he also obtained a diploma in education. He then chose to do his national service at the Crops Research Institute (CRI) in Kumasi between 1998 and 1999. From 2000 he was employed as a research assistant at Resource and Crop Management Division of the CRI. From 2002 to 2004 he earned his master's degree in plant breeding at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi.From 2005 he started his work as a rice breeder at the CRI. He was a Generation Challenge Program Fellowship winner in 2006; the fellowship took him to Cornell University to learn marker-assisted selection with special emphasis on selecting for fragrance in rice.For his AGRA-sponsored work at the University of Ghana Legon he hopes to continue his work on breeding for rice varieties with excellent cooking eating and nutritional qualities. Ghanaian rice farmers who mostly use just three commercial varieties of rice produce just 30 percent of the rice consumed in the country. Maxwell hopes that his research helps expand rice farming in Ghana and improves consumer acceptability of locally produced riceThis is my dream come true " he said as he started classes. "I want to do so well that the impact is felt for the poor people all around Ghana and Africa. I see a lot of hungry people still around. I believe I am well-placed to help them.