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Our patron and ambassadors

Patron – Sir Michael Palin

Michael Palin (courtesy of John Swannell)Sir Michael Palin is an actor, broadcaster, writer and long-time supporter of Farm Africa’s work. Having travelled extensively in Africa, Michael is enormously impressed with the organisation’s practical approach to enabling farmers and herders to improve their own livelihoods.

"Farm Africa aims to create change that is sustainable rather than quick-fix solutions. I have nothing but praise for the work they do and the way they do it."

Photo courtesy of John Swannell.



Kate AdieKate Adie OBE

Kate became a familiar figure as the BBC’s chief news correspondent. She is considered to be among the very finest reporters, and has sent dispatches from danger zones around the world.

She is also the long-serving presenter of Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent and the author of four books about recent social history.

Kate has twice been named reporter of the year by the Royal Television Society and twice won the Monte Carlo International Golden Nymph Award. Her professional autobiography, The Kindness of Strangers, spent 37 weeks on the Sunday Times bestseller list.


Judith Batchelar OBEJudith Batchelar OBE

Judith Batchelar OBE, who was formerly Director of Sainsbury’s Brand at J Sainsbury plc, previously served as a Farm Africa Trustee and played a key role in setting up Farm Africa’s Food for Good network for the food and farming industry

Judith was appointed OBE in 2015 for services to farming and the food industry.

She previously worked for Safeway, Marks and Spencer, Mars Confectionery and Bass plc. Judith is also Deputy Chair a Non-Executive Board Member of the Environment Agency and an Ambassador for the Woodland Trust.  From 2013 – 2018 she chaired the Innovation Working Group for the Food and Drink Sector Council.


Minette BattersMinette Batters

Minette Batters served as President of the National Farmers' Union (NFU) until February 2024. She runs a tenanted family farm in Wiltshire. The mixed farming business includes a 100-cow continental cross suckler herd, as well as sheep and arable. Minette co-founded the campaigning initiatives 'Ladies in Beef' and the 'Great British Beef Week'.

She has been an NFU member from grassroots through to County Chair; she served as Wiltshire’s Council delegate and also as Regional Board Chair for the South West. Minette has also been a member of NFU Governance Board and served as NFU Deputy President for four years from 2014 to 2018, before being elected as president in February 2018. Minette was made a Deputy Lieutenant to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in 2021. 


Ashley Palmer-WattsAshley Palmer-Watts

Ashley Palmer-Watts is Chef Director for Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental, London and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in Melbourne, Australia which he opened in October 2015, with a third restaurant due to open in Dubai in 2020.

His creative eye for detail coupled with a great enthusiasm for research and British ingredients have enabled him to create the unique menu of historically inspired British dishes with Heston Blumenthal for the three restaurants.

Ashley has visited Farm Africa’s work in Kenya several times, led a group of chefs on a Kilimanjaro trek to raise funds for Farm Africa, has designed the menu for Farm Africa Gala Dinners and regularly runs the Dine for Good campaign, inviting diners at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal to donate £1 to Farm Africa.

Charles ReedCharles Reed

Charles Reed runs William Reed Business Media, a fifth generation family-owned company that provide business information across the food, drink and hospitality markets. Charles joined Richard Macdonald and a number of other senior members of the UK food industry to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in September 2011. 





General Sir Peter de la Billière KCB KBE DSO MC DL

Sir Peter had a long and distinguished army career which concluded when he commanded the British forces during the first Gulf War and was subsequently appointed as a special advisor to the Ministry of Defence on Middle Eastern matters. 

Sir Peter ran a small farm enterprise for many years. He is a former board member and was chairman of Farm Africa from 1998 to 2001. Together with his wife he remains an active supporter. They have visited many of the projects in Africa.

"Farm Africa's projects are innovative and effective – they help the poorest farmers to help themselves, and the impact of Farm Africa's work is long-term, permanent and expanding as the value of its work is widely appreciated."

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