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Photo of Kwame Boa-Amponsem

Kwame Boa-Amponsem

Chief Research Scientist, CSIR – Animal Research Institute, Ghana

Ghana

What most impressed the professional colleagues who nominated this role model?

Kwame Boa-Amponsem’s has conducted critically important applied research in poultry breeding.  In response to challenges expressed by the poultry industry in Ghana, he has conducted breeding research to develop a highly productive, locally adapted poultry breed which is filling a critical niche in the poultry industry in Ghana and in neighboring countries such as Togo.  His work is helping to turn around the poultry industry in Ghana by helping local farmers and hatcheries to confront the heavy competition from Europe, Brazil and the USA.  His work demonstrates the importance of technical research applied to practical industry problems. 

What motivated you to pursue a career in agriculture?

  • My father was the deputy chief cocoa officer in Ghana.  He left office after the first coup in 1966 and started poultry farming. This influenced my desire to pursue a career in agriculture, especially livestock. 
  • At that time, Ghana’s poultry industry relied heavily on imported breeding stock from Europe and there was a big supply problem of day old chicks.  One of my lecturers the University of Ghana mentioned this in one of our classes, and from that time I decided to pursue a profession in poultry breeding to help solve the problem. 

 How can agricultural education institutions more effectively prepare African students for successful agribusiness careers? 

  • Agriculture should be part of primary education curriculum.  
  • We need to establish school farms. 
  • Schools should expose kids to commercial agriculture at a young age. 
  • Schools need to continuously update agriculture curriculums to make them relevant. For example, in my field a lot of the poultry scientist who graduate from the universities are not able to formulate feed.
  • To correct the anomaly, I suggest two things: 1) provide opportunities for students to have hands-on experience; and, 2) class room work should deal with what is happening in the real world.  Otherwise, most universities and colleges in Africa will continue to produce half-baked graduates.  

 Career highlights

  • Acting Deputy Director General, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Sector.
  • Principal and Chief Research Scientist, CSIR.
  • Senior Research Scientist and Head, Animal Breeding Division, Ministry of Agriculture.

 Educational background

  • University:  
    • BSc, Agriculture, University of Ghana. 
    • P.G.Diploma in Animal Science, University of Royal Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, Denmark. 
    • M.Phil, Animal Breeding, University of Edinburgh, UK.
    • PhD, Poultry Genetics, Virginia Polytechnic University, USA.