An ambitious project helping subsistence farmers in one of the world’s poorest countries has been recognised for its achievements with an international award.

Gambia is Good (GiG) is a fair trade horticultural marketing company in The Gambia, West Africa, set up in 2004 by Haygrove – a UK horticultural business – in partnership with the international charity Concern Universal.

The project was a winner of the World Business and Development awards, which are the first worldwide business awards to recognize the crucial role of the private sector, large and small, in implementing the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals for sustainable development.

Amongst its successes, in 2007, GiG diverted £34,000 of sales away from importers to local, small-scale producers; helping to redress the poverty in rural areas. A further innovation saw GiG join hands with The Travel Foundation to launch their own open farm, which is used to demonstrate best-practice and generate additional revenue through produce sales and tourism.

Haygrove managing director Angus Davison, said that winning the award helped to promote the under-utilised potential of the small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector in the developed world to stimulate progress in the developing world.

“We believe that the partnering of specialist small to medium-sized enterprises from both worlds, with dynamic NGOs like Concern Universal, can, with relatively little resource, have a very high impact. Both ways.”

Governments, NGOs and corporates had a vital role to play in sustainable economic development, but nobody was better-placed than the SME sector, he added. “We would like Gambia is Good and Haygrove to be an inspiring example of that linkage.”

Ian Williams, executive director of Concern Universal added: “Our challenge as an organisation is making sure we make a practical and sustainable difference to the people that we serve. Concern Universal aims to engage businesses in helping build a safer and more prosperous world, whilst also securing future commercial success.”

Click here to find out more about Gambia is Good.