Credit where credit is due

Recent News

Did you get lots of end-of-year messages by mail? More than came in real cards? Syngenta Foundation employees again received a wide range of December missives. Some were short, others more like sagas. A Swiss NGO’s letter arrived on the 24th claiming that Christmas was already over. A couple of the emails re-used the word “unprecedented”, which had been top of the 2021 après-Covid charts. Some included wonderful photos, others sported digital reindeer and botanically dodgy fir trees. Snow, bizarrely, accompanied good wishes from Australia. And there were also some great reasons to be happy. High on that list was an update from Ghana.

Waaay back in April, WACCI organized a high-level meeting. The West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement is part of the University of Ghana. The meeting aimed to develop a compelling case for investments in the rather neglected seed systems of selected African staples. The (potentially) Magnificent Six are rice, maize, soybean, cowpea, tomato, and cassava. Discussions centered on challenges and investment opportunities.

The motivation for this investment push is the vision of a healthy, food-secure Ghana – or as WACCI excellently puts it, "a Ghana Beyond Aid". Professor Eric Danquah and his team there have produced a report for stakeholder consultation. The Ghana Food Systems Resilience Project has already promised $2 million for some of the proposed work. We wish the initiative all further success!

Fine, you’re probably thinking, but why does this interest the Syngenta Foundation? After all, ag reports come from somewhere every week, we’re not billionaire investors, and we don’t even have a team in Ghana. But WACCI and our Viv Anthony have worked closely on training breeders to take a ‘demand-led’ approach. And the Foundation had supported that high-level meeting, waaay back in April. So it was really nice to get a named mention in WACCI’s round-up eight months later. That kind of thing can easily get forgotten in the December rush to pay invoices or choose digital reindeer.

This newsletter mention is also a good reminder to our own team always to give credit where credit is due. Like every organization that works entirely in partnerships, success is never down to us alone. This isn’t just about Impact Reports, either: “Say thank you more often” is a good resolution anytime, not just at New Year.

But before you ask: Yes, the WACCI newsletter also included other happy news. Modestly, the reminder that Eric Danquah is the 2022 Africa Food Prize Laureate didn’t use the word “unprecedented”. But when he received the award at the AGRF Food Summit, Danquah became the first Ghanaian Laureate since the prize started 17 years ago. No praise due to us here at all, but we were delighted when he got it in September and delighted again at the reminder in December.

Like to share some good ag news you got recently? Or predict the happiest item you’ll read in 12 months’ time? We look forward to hearing from you! 


WACCI newsletter is available here