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Food and farming executives raise over £200,000 for eastern African farmers on a trek across western Tanzania

25 September 2023

Food and farming executives raise over £200,000 for eastern African farmers on a trek across western Tanzania

A team of food and farming executives has successfully completed the Mahale Mountains Challenge, an extraordinary 80-kilometre trek through the remote National Park in western Tanzania and raised over £200,000 plus Gift Aid for Farm Africa.

From steep climbs in sweltering heat to rugged terrain and wading through rivers, the team navigated through a series of challenges over the six-day trek, camping along the way with the help of a fantastic team of local porters.

The team of thirteen people, aptly called Team Mahale, includes industry leaders such as Sainsbury’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mark Given, Aldi’s Managing Director of Buying, Jonathan Neale, The Grocer’s Editor, Adam Leyland, Barfoots’ Group CEO, Julian Marks and the National Farmers’ Union’s, Director of Business and Strategy, Nick von Westenholz.

Team Mahale in the Mahale Mountains

The NFU’s Nick von Westenholz said, “It’s been an extraordinary, if at times challenging and tiring, journey - stunning views, rolling thunder, baking sun, cooling rivers, and the occasional sighting of the local wildlife; the odd baboon and antelope, and copious quantities of elephant dung.”

“As a group, we've been reflecting on the work the charity does out here as well as sharing thoughts on life back home. Farming in the UK and Tanzania have many obvious differences, but they have much in common too - climate change, volatile supply chains and changing diets to name a few. And they also often have strong family foundations, sometimes going back generations and with a deep connection to the land on which they rely on for their livelihoods.”

Nick von Westenholz on the Mahale Mountains challenge

Team leader, and Farm Africa Trustee, Julian Marks, added, “Your donations have been far and above what we initially expected when we started to plan this challenge nearly three years ago and our total has reached well over £200k to date. The money raised will be used wisely by Farm Africa to continue its work across eastern Africa and above all, improve the lives of many.”

Julian Marks on trek

Today, more than half of the world’s extreme poor live in sub-Saharan Africa. The vast majority work in agriculture. Farm Africa works in DR Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to increase food security and incomes by giving rural communities tools and training to protect the environment and develop sustainable farming businesses.

To support Team Mahale’s challenge and donate to Farm Africa please visit

The trek ended as Team Mahale reached the shores of Lake Tanganyika, the world’s longest fresh-water lake, at the edge of the Mahale Mountains National Park. Following a short boat ride, the team then visited the Tanapa Camp where they were lucky enough to see a group of about 30 chimpanzees in their natural habitat.

Team Mahale with Chimpanzees in Tanzania

To round off an extraordinary week, on their return to Dar Es Salaam the team met some of the small and medium enterprises Farm Africa has supported in Tanzania and learnt more about the charity’s impact first-hand.

Anissa Msallem, Head of Partnerships for Farm Africa, says, "Farmers across eastern Africa continue to face unprecedented challenges. Conflict and climate change threaten to push farming communities further into poverty. Eastern Africa is experiencing the worst drought in at least 40 years, decimating lives and livelihoods. By raising funds for Farm Africa, Team Mahale will help transform the lives of farmers in eastern Africa and protect important natural habitats, and we’re very grateful for their support.”

A daily blog following Team Mahale’s progress is available to read on Farm Africa’s website here.

Team Mahale

Feeling inspired? You can donate to Team Mahale here.

Learn more about Farm Africa and how you can get involved in future challenges here.

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