Thirteen leading food industry figures are facing a gruelling seven-day hike up and across Mount Elgon, an extinct volcano that straddles the Uganda-Kenya border, to raise funds for the international charity Farm Africa.
The group, which is led by Farm Africa Chair Richard Macdonald CBE, was due to fly out on January 26th. Along the way, the team will visit Farm Africa projects in both Uganda and Kenya to see first-hand how the money they raise will positively impact the lives of farming families in eastern Africa.
Richard Macdonald said: “This trek will be one of the most physically demanding challenges many of us will face in our lifetimes. But we’ll be spurred on every step of the way in the knowledge our efforts will help families in rural Africa escape poverty. It’s fantastic to see leading figures of the UK food industry unite to show such strong support for Farm Africa’s vision of a prosperous rural Africa.”
Stefanie Pfeil, Farm Africa’s Director of External Relations, added: “We’re thrilled to have the dedicated support of the UK food industry for Farm Africa’s work bringing long-lasting change for farmers in eastern Africa. I extend our heartfelt thanks to all the trekkers for taking on such a gruelling challenge to raise funds to help smallholder farmers grow more, sell more and sell for more, while protecting the environment for generations to come.”
Upon arrival, the group will travel to Teso sub-region in eastern Uganda to visit Farm Africa’s Sweet potatoes for prosperity project. The food industry experts will meet local farmers working with Farm Africa, and gain an insight into how the organisation is helping local people earn more from their agricultural efforts through improved production, post-harvest handling and marketing of vitamin A rich orange-fleshed sweet potatoes.
The group will then embark on the seven-day hike up Mount Elgon. The 100-kilometre route, which will has never been walked before, will take them through thick montane forest, into deep gorges and up the mountain’s four peaks and into Kenya. The trek will be mentally and physically challenging, with the team sleeping in tents along the way, carrying heavy bags and walking at high altitudes. Between them, the team aims to raise £100,000 for Farm Africa.
To wrap up their trip, the team will visit Farm Africa’s Growing Futures project, which is funded by Aldi UK. The visit will enable Jon Neale, Aldi’s Managing Director of Buying, to personally meet some of the young farmers who are being given support to develop profitable horticulture businesses, and see the difference the project is making to their lives.
Those making the trek include Adam Braithwaite, Dairy Crest; Toby Brinsmead, Vitacress; Mark Given, Sainsbury’s; Keith Irvine, Moy Park; Alan Gibson, Devenish; Richard Macdonald, Farm Africa; Julian Marks, Barfoots of Botley; Jon Neale, Aldi UK; Charles Reed, William Reed Business Media; Tim Smith, Tesco; Andrew Thompson, Booker; Alan Wotton, Oscar Mayer.
The group can be sponsored online at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/MountElgonChallenge