UK farmers will have the chance to support their impoverished counterparts in Africa this Christmas, thanks to a new campaign by Send a Cow.

The Planting Hope initiative means UK residents can give a rural African farmer a gift and, until 31 December 2015, the value of each one will be matched by the UK government, effectively doubling the donation.

It is the largest fundraising campaign run by the international development charity since it was founded by West Country dairy farmers almost 30 years ago.

There is a range of gifts – from Garden Gadgets (£6) and Seeds and Tools (£26) to chickens (£7), sheep (£27) and cows (£205 or £650).

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“It’s the perfect way for farmers to help farmers this Christmas,” said the charity’s chief executive, Simon Barnes.

“These gifts are a great way of helping farmers become self-reliant. Send a Cow has helped well over one million of Africa’s poorest people out of poverty since 1988. Every gift you buy makes you – and the person you’re buying it for – part of this amazing transformation.

“We have been very successful at helping people grow their way out of poverty through training and livestock, but now we want to do more – developing our programmes around the young, communities and enterprise, so we are working with one million people by the year 2020. 

“Planting Hope is a significant step towards meeting this ambition and we are thrilled the UK government has recognised the power of this project.”