Aldi stores, one of the biggest supermarkets in the United Kingdom, has started stocking French beans from Kitale promising western Kenya farmers improved earnings.
The beans have been put on sale starting this week as part of the retailer's partnership with Farm Africa, a UK-based charitable organisation that helps farmers, pastoralists and forest communities in eastern Africa to improve their farm incomes.
Aldi had in 2016 teamed up with Farm Africa to support young farmers in Kenya under its Growing Futures project. Under the three-year partnership, the retailer has pledged to donate more than Sh34.8 million (£260,000) to Farm Africa.
The French beans are the first product from the partnership to hit Aldi's shelves, with the product going on sale in 10 Aldi stores across the Midlands on 8 November 8, the organisations said in a statement.
Farm Africa said more than 400 young growers of French beans, sugar snaps, snow and garden peas, tomatoes and kales are set to benefit from the project.
"By supporting young people in rural areas to increase harvests and create better incomes for themselves, this partnership will equip young people with the skills they need to become wealth creators and build a more sustainable future," Aldi's Managing Director for Corporate Responsibility Fritz Walleczek said. The branded packs from Western Kenya are meant to test how the UK food retail industry can use its own supply chains to help trigger development in regions that they source from.
Farm Africa, founded in 1985, works with small-scale farmers, governments and private sector organisations across Africa to boost food production and encourage them to engage in commercial farming.
"This 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," said Nicolas Mounard, chief executive of Farm Africa.
The organisation said it has recruited 2,300 young people since 2011, helping them to set up and run their own farms.
It provides training in agriculture, business and marketing to help young farmers meet export quality thresholds and also take an active role in finding the best prices for them too.