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The CSIR-Crops Research Institute has appointed Dr. Maxwell Darko Asante, a Principal Research Scientist at the Institute as its new Deputy Director, with effect from 1st January, 2022.  Dr. Asante replaces the out-going Deputy Director, Prof. Marian Dorcas Quain whose two-year tenure will come to an end on 31st December, 2021.


Dr. Maxwell Darko Asante is a rice breeder at the CSIR-Crops Research Institute. He holds a PhD in Plant Breeding from the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement, (WACCI), University of Ghana as well as a Master’s degree (MSc. Plant Breeding) from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi.

As the lead rice breeder at the Institute, Dr. Maxwell, has since his appointment in 2000, worked to develop and release seven (7) improved rice varieties which are all currently being grown on farmers’ fields across the country. His research has mainly been on the genetics and genetic variability of rice characteristics including grain quality and yield component traits, biotic and abiotic stresses.

He has fully incorporated SNP markers into his breeding programme and was recently appointed by the CGIAR Excellence in Breeding (EiB) programme as a consultant to help modernize breeding programmes in some West African countries including Ghana.  He is currently leading efforts at developing the next generation of fragrant rice varieties which are high yielding, tolerant to rice yellow mottle and blast diseases with consumer-preferred grain qualities.

Dr. Asante has attracted over US $1.5 million from various donors for his projects and has served as the Principal Investigator for several rice projects in Ghana. These include projects funded by USAID, BMGF, AGRA and KAFACI.

He received the Presidential Award for National Best Agricultural Scientist at the 2018 National Farmers’ Day and was also adjudged the overall best scientist at the CSIR-CRI in 2017.

Dr. Asante has travelled extensively and has attended several conferences, workshops and training programmes in many countries around the world. He is a visiting scientist at USDA, ARS-Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center, USA. He is also a visiting scholar at the Department of Plant Breeding & Genetics, Cornell University as well as Ghana’s representative on the African Rice Breeders’ Task Force.

Maxwell has authored over sixty (60) scientific publications comprising refereed journal papers, book chapters and conference papers. These have all been published in highly-rated international journals. Additionally, He’s trained over 50 interns and students and is currently supervising eight post-graduate students studying at various universities on the African continent. He is a Senior Lecturer at the CSIR College of Science and Technology (CCST) and a Guest Lecturer at the Pan African University Institute of Life and Earth Sciences (Paulesi) University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

Dr. Asante is a member of the Ghana Science Association and the immediate past President of the CSIR-CRI branch of the Research Staff Association of Ghana. He is a dedicated Christian and married with kids.

List of contributors: Maxwell Darko Asante (PhD), Bernard Sakyiamah, Augustine Ofosu