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Food industry's support to African farmers reaps benefits

26 July 2016

Food industry's support to African farmers reaps benefits

For the past five years, Farm Africa’s Food for Good campaign has been working to bring the food industry together to help build a brighter future for African farmers. And a recent report by The Grocer shows that this kind of support really can make a difference to farmers’ lives.

In 2013, a group of 14 senior women from the UK food industry travelled out to eastern Africa to help a Kenyan community dig their very first fish pond. They returned to Africa in 2015, to help build beehives for a village on the outskirts of the Nou Forest in Tanzania.

But once the Olympic-sized pool had been dug and the 90 beehives built, what happened next? Were these projects really going to build long-term prosperity, or just short-term publicity?

Two years later, The Grocer reports that both businesses are flourishing. That first fishpond has made enough money to fund six more, and the original 90 beehives have grown to become 165.

This has been particularly important for local women in Tanzania, who were previously prohibited by local custom from climbing trees to access hanging beehives. But with beehives on the ground, they’re free to start using the honey and wax to build up their own incomes. And female fish farmers have benefitted too – the chairwoman of one farming group told The Grocer that her fish income had enabled her to send her grandson to school.

Farm Africa’s CEO, Nicolas Mounard, welcomed the progress made. ‘Beekeeping in the Nou Forest in Tanzania and fish farming in Kenya are two great success stories. And they are examples of how food businesses have the power to lift smallholder farmers out of poverty, while conserving the environment for generations to come.’

This is an edited version of an article published in The Grocer