Dr. Kwesi Ampong-Nyarko

Research Scientist, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Edmonton, AB. Born: Ghana.

Dr. Kwesi Ampong-Nyarko was born in a small village in Ghana where his parents were subsistence farmers practicing shifting cultivation and slash and burn agriculture. After graduating from the University of Ghana with a Bachelor of Sciences in Agronomy, he continued his studies at the University of Reading in England and obtained a Master of Science and PhD.

Background: Kwesi worked as a co-coordinator to CIDA-Ghana Grains Development Project in Ghana after his PhD. The project had over 500 staff and was considered one of the most successful CIDA sponsored Projects in Africa. Held a number of positions within the International Agricultural Research Centre; was a Visiting Scientist at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) at El Batan in Mexico and International institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan Nigeria; was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the International Rice Research Institute, Los Banos Philippines for three years; served as Scientist at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi Kenya, living in Kenya on the shores of Lake Victoria (1990-99); at one time, served as the Head of  the Department of Applied Ecology with over 25 international scientists under him; served as a consultant to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Eritrea.

Currently, Dr. Ampong-Nyarko is a New Crops Research Scientist at the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development in Edmonton and has made great strides in popularizing and laying the foundation for the cultivation, processing and commercialization of Rhodiola rosea in Alberta. On biodiesel, Kwesi is exploring the non-traditional crop source, pennycress, as a source of oil.

Works: Author of a number of journal articles including Nature, as well as having written a book, and book chapters.

Favourite book? The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die by John Izzo. The secrets are to be true to yourself, leave no regrets, become love, live in the moment, give more than you take, give meaning to life.

Favourite quote? “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” (On a sign hanging in Einstein’s office at Princeton.)

Given the chance, what would you love to do that you haven’t done yet? Play the saxophone in an orchestra.

What inspires you? Things that improve the welfare of others.

Why do you do what you do? It gives me a lot of satisfaction.

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