“When that first harvest came in, I knew immediately that this wasn’t small business we were doing, but something with real potential.” When Alhadji Alhassan Sulley, tribe chief in Ghanaian Nanton, saw that first crop come in, he let go of all his doubts: something special was happening here.
Growing with Ghana
In 1979 the Dutch-Ghanaian company Wienco started importing and distributing agricultural inputs, supporting rice, cotton and cocoa plantations in the region. Engagement with both community and nature were a top priority from the outset. Upon reaching their thirtieth anniversary, they wanted to tell their story to the world and contacted Vuurwerk to document the entirety of their business.
Growing with Ghana
That called for some serious storytelling wizardry. How to capture this company’s unbelievable account, in combination with Ghana’s own development and its agricultural sector? It had to become a book, coffee table sized, hardcover and filled with full-color photography. To tell Wienco’s story, a team traveled to Ghana to experience one full week of business there, to see everything, interview everyone. A week in which the whole history was unearthed. Of immense importance was teasing out the right details: not just the economic prosperity that lifted thousands of farmers in the region from poverty, but also the many initiatives to restore jungles and protect endangered wildlife.
The massive undertaking took three years, which isn’t surprising when you see the—rightfully impressive—end result: a 220 page tome that records the whole of Wienco’s first thirty years.
Sadly, the founder and driving force behind the company, Henri Wientjes, recently passed away. From the start, he tirelessly applied himself to make Wienco a success and felt inseparably linked to the country. His words in the book speak volumes: “Ghana is in my heart. The land has given me so many chances, and has shaped who I have become.” Henri had an outspoken vision for what had to be done and was emphatically connected to Ghana. He lived according to his creed that as an entrepreneur and human, you shouldn’t just take, but most of all give back to the community.
The right story
Growing with Ghana became a book that we are still proud of. From its photography to the design, the text, the way it was printed, the box—everything was put together with the same high level of care and attention to detail. Years after publication it is still something special, a testament to a remarkable company and powerful storytelling.