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Africa agricultural charities team up to teach sustainable farming techniques

Africa agricultural charities team up to teach sustainable farming techniques

The Marshal Papworth Fund has teamed up with Farm Africa and Self Help Africa in their mission to deliver sustainable farming techniques to communities in sub-Saharan Africa.

The partnership will link the Marshal Papworth Fund with two long-established organisations working at grassroots level in Africa, which will help the fund to identify potential candidates for its scholarships to study at leading UK agricultural colleges. The alliance will then provide support for students following completion of their studies when they return to their home countries.

All three charities believe the key to ending Africa’s dependence on aid is to teach communities how to feed themselves while generating a surplus to sell and raise incomes. Striving to tackle hunger and potential famine, Farm Africa and Self Help Africa work directly with farmers to develop farming skills that will benefit communities and their environment.

James Parrish, the Fund’s Chairman, commented: “For twelve years now, the Marshal Papworth Fund has provided scholarships to students from developing countries enabling them to come to the UK and study at some of the top agricultural and horticultural institutions. In the past, we have relied on universities and former students to recommend potential candidates. This new partnership will enable us to spread our work further afield and attract students from areas of Africa where we haven’t previously had a presence.

“After graduation, once they’ve returned home, we have been reliant on our students sending updates and information on the work they are involved with. In the future, students put forward by Farm Africa and Self Help Africa will work with these charities in Africa ensuring they are using their newly acquired knowledge and skills in the best way possible, while keeping us regularly up to date on their progress.”

The charities are working with Shuttleworth College in Bedfordshire to provide a tailored 10-week Demonstration Farmer course to start in April. The course combines established agricultural teaching, with Farm Africa and Self Help Africa’s in-country knowledge of the key skills needed within rural communities, and the Marshal Papworth Fund’s experience of sharing newly acquired skills on the ground.

Nigel Harris, CEO of Farm Africa says: “This is an inspiring scheme which will bring all-round benefits to communities, funders and our own teams on the ground. Farm Africa will nominate staff who already have experience working with smallholder farmers but who will benefit from the academic and practical knowledge gained from a top UK agricultural college. We will then see them returning to the field to put their new skills into practice. Everyone will be a winner, including the rural communities where we work.”
Ray Jordan, CEO of Self Help Africa says: “Knowledge is critical to ending hunger and poverty for millions of rural poor people in Africa. Participants on this course – farm advisors and community representatives – will make a practical contribution to our efforts to increase food production and farm incomes in Africa by sharing with others the knowledge they gain from their training in the UK.”

The Marshal Papworth Fund is wholly managed by the East of England Agricultural Society and has already helped improve the lives of over one hundred and twenty students from developing countries. In order to continue this work and give more students the opportunity to benefit from the scheme, the Fund relies on donations. To find out more and to make a donation contact Sandra Lauridsen on 01733 363514 or email slauridsen@eastofengland.org.uk for more information.

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