You are here: Home > News > Bumper first harvest for Aldi’s Farm Africa project

Bumper first harvest for Aldi's Farm Africa project

29 June 2017

Bumper first harvest for Aldi's Farm Africa project

Almost 400 aspiring young Kenyan farmers have learnt the foundation skills and techniques needed to build a sustainable horticultural business during the first year of Aldi’s partnership with Farm Africa.  

The farmers, from Kitale in western Kenya, are now benefiting from the agricultural skills and practices learned as part of the ‘Growing Futures’ project, including: crop rotation, irrigation, planting, harvesting and pest management.

The project aims to equip young people with the skills needed to build sustainable livelihoods and thereby escape poverty.  Aldi is donating £260k over a three-year period to help fund the initiative. 

During the last 12 months, the project has established 21 demonstration plots, where young farmers have learnt practical skills for growing mangetouts, French beans, cabbages, kale and chilli peppers.

The first harvests this year have seen bumper yields, with 96,500kg of cabbages and 37,200kg of French beans grown by the first group of 118 farmers to have completed a growing cycle so far. 

The young farmers have also undergone thorough training in financial management and writing business plans, giving them the springboard they need to establish and run a profitable agricultural business.  The first vegetables to have been sold achieved impressive profit margins of 62% for cabbages and 50% for French beans. And new buying contracts mean the farmers can enjoy the security of a more reliable income in the future.

Over the next two years of the partnership the young farmers will receive further training and support in finding the right buyers, business development skills, post-harvest handling and good warehouse practices.

By collaborating with Farm Africa we’ve had a tangible and positive impact on people’s lives, and are helping young people to escape the cycle of poverty. Learning these new skills is truly making a difference in these communities. We are proud to be the

Mary Dunn, Communications Director at Aldi UK

The project is also helping the farmers to gain Global GAP certification, which they need in order to be able to export their vegetables. Export markets tend to be more lucrative than the domestic market, so this is a crucial step in helping boost the farmers’ incomes.  

Penny Ruszczynski, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Farm Africa, said: “Young people make up a huge proportion of the population in Kenya, where 80% of the population is under the age of 35. In partnership with Aldi UK, we’re helping young people in rural areas grow a brighter future by developing the horticultural and business skills they need to set up successful, profitable horticultural enterprises.”

Joseph Kaunda, one of the farmers taking part in the project, has already been able to use the income generated so far to invest in growing his business. He commented: “The Growing Futures project trained me on how to improve productivity and now I am able to grow different grades of vegetables for different buyers. This has been very Selly, a participant in Farm Africa's Growing Futures projectbeneficial. Through the sale of cabbages, I was able to buy a water pump and I am currently running my own vegetable production as a separate entrepreneur from the group.”

Selly Chelangat, another farmer taking part, added: “Before I was farming French beans, I was farming maize and local beans. I have found French beans give me more money. I like them because they take only a short time to grow and bring a good income. With the extra money I earn with my French beans I am able to save some with table banking. I want to open a business to help me pay for my son Timothy to go to university. He is in Class Four. He loves school and has never missed a day.”