Businesses urged to help farmers in developing countries

Businesses need to work together with charities to help farmers in developing countries, a leading UK fruit grower has said.

Angus Davison, director of Herefordshire-based Haygrove, helps to fund the Gambia is Good Project that is overseen by Concern Universal, an international development and emergency relief organisation.

He said the days of charities acting on their own were limited and it was medium-sized businesses that were best placed to help, with large organisations too inflexible to move quickly enough.

GiG helps small-scale Gambian vegetable growers market their produce to tourist hotels in the small west-African country.

Advice

However, in contrast to some other aid projects, it is based on commercial principles and farmers are not simply given hand outs.

Those that take the advice offered on harvesting at the right time and grading their produce correctly to make the most of the market can easily treble their incomes.

In addition to helping others, the ability to demonstrate corporate and social responsibility will become increasingly important when gaining new business and attracting the best staff, said Mr Davison.

As well as having to cope with an increasingly erratic climate, Gambian farmers often struggle to compete with cheap imports from the developed world.

These include rice from the USA, and vegetables, eggs and dairy products from the EU.