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In memory of David Campbell OBE: Farm Africa co-founder

06 December 2022

In memory of David Campbell OBE: Farm Africa co-founder

Farm Africa was deeply saddened to hear of the death of David Campbell OBE, who co-founded Farm Africa with the late Sir Michael Wood in 1985.

The founders started the organisation in response to the famine in Ethiopia with the firm belief that developing small-scale agriculture was the key to reducing rural poverty.

In a memoir published on his website, David Campbell described the origins of Farm Africa:

“Michael, who seldom spoke about himself, said: ‘I’m retiring from AMREF in a year. I have concluded after a life’s work as a surgeon in Africa that food is the best medicine. I now want to start an initiative to tackle the problem in new ways.’ I jumped at this: ‘I finish my contract with OXFAM next year. I too want to concentrate on food production. May I join you?’ This was the beginning of FARM.”

Speaking at Farm Africa’s 30th anniversary AGM in 2015, David Campbell commented: “Michael and I both believed passionately in the need to revitalise African agriculture, to break the mould which often inhibited development and to find new more effective strategies.”

Farm Africa’s first project was in Kenya, followed by expansion to Tanzania, Ethiopia and South Africa. To start with, Farm Africa supported camel herding communities, then added a dairy goat project, before starting work in other areas including forestry.

After Sir Michael died in 1989, the Farm Africa head office was relocated to the UK. David Campbell led the organisation from the UK until stepping down in 1999. On retiring from Farm Africa, David received an OBE from Her Majesty The Queen ‘for services to African farming’.

We are deeply grateful for David’s huge contribution to the development of the charity.

David is survived by his wife Caroline and four children. We offer our heartfelt condolences to David’s family and friends at this sad time.

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