Tribute to Dr. Bright Boakye-Peprah, Ghanaian Cassava Breeder, Passed Tues. January 12, 2021

Date posted: 
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Author: 
GREAT Ghana Team; CSIR-Crops Research Institute

TRIBUTE TO A BROTHER, FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE: DR. BRIGHT BOAKYE-PEPRAH

By: GREAT Ghana Team; CSIR-Crops Research Institute.

TRIBUTE TO A BROTHER, FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE: DR. BRIGHT BOAKYE-PEPRAH

“The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."

Job 1:21

“Tears keep rolling down our eyes” as we compose this tribute but we agree with William Shakespeare that “All the world’s a stage; And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances”. Death is inevitable, a path all mankind will travel but our brother, friend and colleague; your exit has been quick and sudden! Darkness covered the whole scientific community on that Black Tuesday; 12th January, 2021 during the early mornings when the wind of death stole our gem!

Our deceased colleague, Dr. Bright Boakye-Peprah; an energetic, noble and eminent young research scientist was full of great potentials. He read Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana in 2005. He proceeded to the University of Ghana, Legon to pursue MPhil in Crop Science in 2010 and held a Diploma in Education from the University of Education, Winneba. His patience and perseverance saw him through a successful completion of a Doctoral degree in Plant Breeding from the University of Free State; South Africa in June, 2020. He joined the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in 2005 first as a National Service Personnel after which he was formally employed in 2008 as a Principal Technical Officer. After his masters degree, he was promoted to the Research Scientist Grade. He was an expert in plant breeding, molecular plant breeding, plant phenotyping and Biometry. His research interest focused on the genetic improvement of nutritional quality of cassava. Through dint of hard work and passion for science, he worked on several projects with both local and international scientists. He won an award from the Competitive Program for Emerging Agricultural Research Leaders (PEARL) of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) in 2014 which he led a team of scientists in incorporating beta carotene in cassava landraces; a food security and income generating crop for small holder farmers in Ghana. Dr. Boakye-Peprah teamed up with other renowned scientists from IITA, CIAT and CSIR to develop and formally release several cassava varieties in Ghana which is currently serving the food security needs of millions of farmers across Africa. Notable among these varieties are CRI- ‘Lamesese’, CRI- ‘AGRA Bankye’, CRI- ‘Dudzi’, CRI- ‘Abrabopa’, CRI- ‘Duade Kpakpa’, CRI- ‘Amansan Bankye’, CRI- ‘Bediako’, CRI- ‘Bankye’, etc.

He attended several training workshops, conferences and made several publications in high impact journals. These world class workshops impacted greatly on your work output. Your total perception on gender changed after an exposure to the GREAT Course in 2016/2017 which focused on making breeding projects gender responsive. You held on to your gender quote “We should not forget that in Africa, agriculture will improve when we increase women’s participation. We are improving the empowerment of women in agriculture so that Africa can win”. You became gender sensitive and mainstreamed gender into your PEARL 1 Cassava Project which received recognition at the IVTH International GCP21 Cassava Conference held in June, 2018; Cotonou, Benin. You were awarded the second best oral presenter at the conference.  Your recent article “Genetic variability, stability and heritability for quality and yield characteristics in provitamin A cassava varieties” published in Euphytica in 2020 was rated as one of the top three accessed articles in the journal.  His excellent work earned him the head of the Cassava Improvement Programme in 2019; a position he held till his demise. Our colleague was versatile and impacted the lives of other colleagues; younger scientists and technicians. Your excellent coordination of programs and events cannot be overlooked. This you demonstrated as a Co-Chair at the 2016 Research Staff Association’s End-of Year-Get together.  Dr. Boakye-Peprah’s life though short was well lived.

You were one of a kind; an affable, sociable, great team player, and generous person which family, friends and colleagues will always remember you for. You were a responsible husband and parent. Your dedication, love and care for your wife and kids were incomprehensible. You were survived by your beautiful wife; Mrs. Felicity Ababio and four awesome children; Elizabeth Yaa Kyerewaa Peprah, Nana Kwame Boakye Peprah, Nana Afia Agyeiwaa Peprah and Nana Assim Berko Peprah. Though we cannot see, feel or touch you anymore, we take solace in the fact that your good works and achievements will endure for the benefits of young generations. Your favourite scriptural quotes “Hard work will give you power; being lazy will make you a slave (Proverbs 12: 24)” and “Worry can rob you of happiness, but kind words will cheer you up (Proverbs 12: 25)” will linger on and forever ring in our ears. The management, staff and scientific community will forever remember you for your sense of humour, commitment and contribution to science for the progress of CSIR-CRI, Ghana and Africa at large.

May the heavenly angels lead you to the bosom of your maker and may you rest eternally in peace!!!