Food industry trek puts boot into poverty

Farm  Africa

Farm Africa

Premium Supplier 20th February 2018

Food industry trek puts boot into poverty

A host of leading food industry figures joined forces to raise a whopping £238,000 for Farm Africa through a sponsored week-long trek across the Ugandan-Kenyan border, which saw the team tackle Mount Elgon’s four peaks.

The line-up of trekkers reads like a who’s who of the UK food industry, with senior representatives from major retailers and suppliers. Find a full list of Mount Elgon trekkers online: www.farmafrica.org/challenges/mountelgon

“The trek brought together some of the UK’s most influential food leaders to rally behind Farm Africa’s vision of a prosperous rural Africa,” comments Penny Ruszczynski, Farm Africa’s Head of Corporate Partnerships. “Each one of the trekkers was a leading food industry figure, it’s inspiring that a group with such deep agricultural and business expertise decided to raise funds for Farm Africa.”

Ahead of their challenging trek, the 13-man team were provided with a dose of inspiration in the form of a visit to Farm Africa’s Sweet potatoes for prosperity project in Uganda. The project helps farmers to grow, harvest and process orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, so they can grow more, sell more and sell for more.

“We saw how choosing the right varieties [of sweet potatoes] can improve yields and how that can be put into practice in the field”, reflected Charles Reed. “Farm Africa have provided a storage and processing warehouse where they can turn a crop with a very short shelf life into dried chips and even flour, so a complete end-to-end solution, which all the people we met agreed had changed their lives.”

Energised by the previous day’s site visit, the team hit the trail. The group spent several days hiking up and across Mount Elgon’s rarely conquered four peaks, trekking through thick montane forest and across the Kenyan-Ugandan border to successfully take on the challenge of a lifetime.

“We headed off up the mountain, scrambling our way up sheer rock faces and even dodging poachers’ animal traps! We reached Muembe peak, where the views were simply breath-taking,” reported Alan Wotton, Chief Commercial Officer at Oscar Mayer Group at Oscar Mayer from the team’s ultimate peak.

To wrap up their trip, the team visited Farm Africa’s Growing Futures project, which is funded by Aldi UK. The visit enabled Jonathan Neale, Aldi’s Managing Director of Buying, to personally meet some of the young farmers who are being given support to develop profitable horticulture businesses, and see the difference the project is making to their lives.

Blogging from the field, Jonathan Neale said: “As we end this adventure, we can all be proud of the funds we have raised for an amazing cause who are truly changing the lives of local people throughout the region - and for that we are hugely grateful to all of you, our supporters. Thank you so much.”

While the African leg of the challenge is over, the team is still working hard to raise funds for Farm Africa. Make all of the team’s sore legs and early mornings worthwhile by making a donation today at: www.farmafrica.org/challenges/mountelgon

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