Our founder and CEO Peter Kelly recently returned from visits to several African countries to meet grant applicants and farmers and see research projects and communities. He not only brought home a ton of memories but also made lasting connections with people who are as passionate about food security as we are. In this article, we share a small sampling of his experiences in Ghana.
A photo diary
Peter’s time in Accra was relatively short. After a few days, he quickly made his way to Tamale in the country’s north, and to the small community of Manga near Burkina Faso.
At Manga, Peter surveyed fields like the one shown above where agricultural researchers are growing out different batches of Bambara groundnut seeds, checking for duplicates and otherwise preparing for the breeding project they hope Grow Further will fund soon. In the below photograph, you can see some of the test plant varieties more closely.
You’ll notice in the above photo the slightly different hues of green the leafy plants display. These are all Bambara groundnuts, just different genetic lines boasting different traits. Bambara groundnuts are known for easily growing in dry climates, but that trait alone won’t win over Ghana’s farmers and consumers. The ideal Bambara groundnut variety also has to yield well, mature quickly, and be easy to cook.
Above, you can see Peter walking the rows of test plants as his hosts explain their research and the multiple Bambara groundnut varieties they are testing. Notice again the different leaf colors.
Here, Peter is speaking to a farmer about her Bambara groundnut cultivation and what she would like to see in new varieties. She was more interested in early maturity than in cooking time. The proposal he was visiting includes in-depth engagement with farmers.
Another farmer Peter spoke with brought her children to the field. Her family eats some of the Bambara groundnuts she grows and sells the rest for a good price.
Eating Bambara groundnuts with rice at a roadside stand. The vendor said she grew them herself.
Peter also met representatives of potential partner organizations, both local and international. In this photo, he meets a representative of a Swiss nonprofit looking to expand Bambara groundnut cultivation in Ghana.
Bambara groundnuts can be processed and prepared for consumption in a variety of ways. Upon landing at Accra, Peter scoured the city until ultimately finding a takeout restaurant that served them much like chickpeas. Above, you can see examples of Bambara groundnut milk on sale in Tamale. The research team Peter traveled to meet hopes that this alternative form of milk will become popular with consumers, boosting nutrition and food security in turn.
Peter became exhausted from meeting with researchers and delivering presentations to them on Grow Further’s work. Here, members of a receptive and gracious audience showed their appreciation by bestowing Peter with a Ghanaian smock. We think he looks great in this garb.
Sometimes, Peter’s work in Ghana called for formal Western attire. Here, he’s dressed to meet the chief of the community.
In Tamale, Peter spoke to two groups of researchers who hadn’t applied for a Grow Further grant or who missed the deadline to do so. In the above image, he is presenting an overview of our work and grant-giving process to potentially interested researchers in case they wish to apply for a grant in a future round.
Below, a research manager thanks him for his visit.
In the above photo, Peter is shaking hands with a grant applicant as he prepares to leave his institute–though they will meet again all the way to the airport.
All in all, it was a very fruitful journey. Special thanks are owed to the talented photographers who captured every moment. We can’t wait until the next grant cycle to do this all over again, perhaps at a far different corner of the world.
— Grow Further
Photo credit: All photos were taken for Grow Further by Kwekwe Photography, Catcheye Visual Studios, and Peter Kelly.