French beans in Kitale from a Farm Africa project hit Aldi’s shelves
French beans harvested by farmers in Kitale, Western Kenya are going on sale this week in Aldi stores, one of the biggest supermarkets in the United Kingdom, as part of the retailer’s partnership with Farm Africa.
In 2016, Aldi teamed up with the international development organisation to support young farmers in Kenya through its Growing Futures project. Throughout the three-year partnership, the retailer has pledged to donate more than £260,000 to Farm Africa.
To date, the project has worked with more than 400 young people and has helped them to grow and sell vegetables that are in high demand, so they can earn an income and build sustainable businesses.
The project trains young people on how to grow high-quality crops like French beans, sugar snaps, snow peas, garden peas, tomatoes and kale, as well as how to run their farms as businesses. As a result, the farmers have been able to bring in higher yields, diversify their incomes and build up savings that they can invest in growing their businesses further.
The French beans are the first product from the partnership to hit Aldi’s shelves, with the products going on sale in ten Aldi stores across the Midlands on Thursday, 8 November. The specially-branded packs will serve as a tangible example of how the UK food retail industry can use its own supply chains to help deliver impactful development in regions that they source from.
Fritz Walleczek, Managing Director of Corporate Responsibility at Aldi, said: “It’s fantastic to see the first produce as part of our Farm Africa partnership going into our stores. By supporting young people in rural areas to increase harvests and create better incomes for themselves, Growing Futures will equip young people with the skills they need to become wealth creators and build a more sustainable future.”
Farm Africa works with small-scale farmers, government and private sector organisations across Africa to boost food production, creating more sustainable and commercial farming that builds incomes and sustains natural resources.
Nicolas Mounard, Chief Executive of Farm Africa, said: “We’re pleased to see growing interest amongst consumers about the origin of the food they buy. Aldi’s sale of beans grown by Growing Futures farmers is a win-win for Kenyan farmers and British customers alike. The young farmers benefit from an international market, while customers benefit from clarity about the journey of their vegetables from farm to supermarket trolley.”
Mary Nyale, Project Coordinator of Farm Africa’s Growing Futures project, commented: “The farmers’ incomes have risen because they have larger quantities of produce to sell, and the quality is high thus commanding better prices. We have also helped farmers to form groups and collectively sell their vegetable in bulk to wholesalers.”
Joseph Kiplagat, a young farmer taking part in the project describes the impact the project has had on his family: “I have benefited a lot from the project. After undergoing training, I decided to enlarge my projections of tomatoes and French beans. Through the income realised from this project, we can meet most of the requirements in the family: like taking the children to school and having a balanced diet on the table.”
It’s not just farmers taking part in the project who are benefiting. Thriving businesses like Joseph’s create jobs for other local people, so the project has wider impact across the whole community. Mr Kiplagat added: “Through the French beans we are harvesting now, we have created employment for our people during planting, weeding, spraying and harvesting. Different people within our community are benefiting such as ladies, men and youths not involved in the project.”