The World’s 50 Best Restaurants official charity partner, Farm Africa, is expanding the reach of a project that trains and supports young people in eastern Africa to make the most of their crops.
With issues of sustainable development increasingly close to the heart of the world's top chefs, we dive into African agriculture to better understand the situation in western Kenya and the charity’s work.
With Africa home to most of the world’s arable land, agriculture employs 80% of the workforce. However, the average age of a farmer in western Kenya is 60. Farm Africa’s Growing Futures initiative has been helping young people in the region to develop the agricultural, financial and trading skills necessary to make the most of their land and crops.
The charity is now scaling up the project in order to reach more young farmers in the region, joined in this effort by the UK government. From now until 14th January 2018, all donations to Growing Futures are doubled by the government through the Aid Match scheme.
Many of the world’s top chefs, including El Celler de Can Roca’s chef-owner Joan Roca and Osteria Francescana’s Massimo Bottura, have been increasing their efforts to give back and support sustainable development around the world. In 2016, the Roca brothers were appointed Goodwill Ambassadors by the United Nations Development Program; while Bottura has pushed forward projects to end food waste around the world.
In this climate of awareness and responsibility, Farm Africa’s Growing Futures initiative is timely. Currently, 400 young Kenyan farmers are involved in the training, learning a wide range of skills that can help them capitalise on the growing demand for produce in the region. From crop rotation to pest management, from writing business plans to good warehouse practices, the training equips them with the tools to set up a successful small agricultural business.
Joseph Kaunda, one of the young farmers involved in Growing Futures, highlighted that the training helped him improve productivity and grow different grades of vegetables. “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,” he said.
With many young people in Kenya facing a lack of job opportunities, the Growing Futures initiative supports a dynamic workforce that could help drive economic prosperity for the region. Its current expansion will allow more young people to make the change from job seekers to job creators.
Find out more and donate on Farm Africa's website.