Chef Africa: Hospitality industry encouraged to play its part in helping African communities become self-sufficient

The hospitality industry is being encouraged to support the work of Farm Africa which has established a network of Aqua Shops to help small-scale subsistence fish farmers in Kenya

Ahead of Ashley Palmer-Watts's forthcoming trip to Kenya, members of the hospitality industry are being encouraged to follow his progress and get involved with the Farm Africa charity, which aims to give aid and knowledge to African communities to help them become self-sufficient. 

Palmer-Watts, executive chef at The Fat Duck Group and head chef of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, will be representing the sector when he jets out to Nairobi next week before heading west to visit tilapia fish farmers near Kisumu to offer tips on adding value to the fish they sell.

Generous sharing

The chef will be shown a project set-up by Farm Africa where the charity has created artificial ponds to create fish farms which, together with Aqua Shops also established in the area, are helping local farmers get a sustainable source of food and an income stream to help them become self-sufficient.

In Western Kenya, six out of 10 households rely on fish for their food, their income or both.

Cathy Whiteman, Farm Africa's head of corporate and community fundraising, said the trip was a perfect way of engaging the whole hospitality industry with the charity's work.

"We help subsistence farmers grow more so they can eat more, sell more, and buy more," she said. "Acting as an ambassador with a foot in both the food and hospitality camps, we hope that Ashley’s visit to the fish farmers of Western Kenya will boost awareness of how well its work fits the sustainability and social responsibility programmes of both food production and foodservice companies.

"Food and generous sharing are the heart of the hospitality trade so we hope that Ashley’s inspiration will generate more exciting partnerships for Farm Africa. 

Getting involved

Getting a reliable and affordable supply of healthy baby fish, high quality feed, and fish rearing know-how has held back many would-be fish farmers, but Aqua Shops, run by Farm Africa-trained local entrepreneurs, provide start-up businesses with best practice advice, market information, links to credit facilities and the supplies they need to succeed.

The charity's labours are already bearing fruit:

  • Artificial ponds, farming tilapia in the same way salmon and trout are farmed in the UK, have helped double and triple harvests.
  • More than 4,000 farmers now have access to Aqua Shops.
  • Aqua Shops have helped increase yields by up to 215 per cent.
  • Farmers using Aqua Shops are reporting a 33 per cent increase in the price of the fish they sell.
  • More than 100 farmers have received credit through financial institutions using the Aqua Shops as centres where farmers can make loan applications.
  • The Kenyan Government is now supporting 'aquaculture' as a way of stimulating economic growth.

As well as following the chef's trip exclusively on BigHospitality, those in the hospitality industry are being encouraged to get involved with the work of the charity and share their expertise with those who need it in Africa.

One way individuals can help is by sponsoring a farm group in one of a number of African nations or for companies there are various options including making Farm Africa their Charity of the Year.

"For £5 a month, anyone can do a lot to help farmers in Africa to feed themselves forever. We'll provide specialist seeds, tools and teach farmers techniques to help them conserve water and get the best from their soil. We update you so that you can follow their progress," Whiteman said.

Worthwhile support

Palmer-Watts's trip to Africa comes almost a year after 10 senior food industry executives climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in support of the charity. BigHospitality's sister publication The Grocer became exclusive media partner for the trip and sponsored a pre-expedition dinner at Jason Atherton's Pollen Street Social restaurant attended by charity patron Michael Palin.

"Influential coverage in The Grocer was crucial to the success of the event as it attracted involvement and corporate sponsorship from some of the sector’s biggest retailers and suppliers," Whiteman said.

Charles Reed, William Reed Business Media managing director and newly-appointed Farm Africa Board of Trustees member, also took part in the Tanzania Challenge which raised £256k.

Since making the trip, Reed has helped the charity increase engagement with the hospitality industry as well as the food industry to encourage as many people involved in the global 'food chain' to play their part in helping sustainability in Africa. 

"The Charity’s underlying principle is to help farmers increase their productivity and become self-sufficient – feeding their families and supplying their local markets – making it a relevant and worthwhile charity for the food, drink and hospitality industries to support.

Exciting phase

"Farm Africa doesn't just talk about making a difference – it makes it. The charity is already changing the lives of  three-quarters of a million people a year and planning to double its impact by 2016. Every penny counts and we hope individuals from all parts of this great industry will feel enthused by Farm Africa’s work and become fundraisers and donors,” he said. 

"The partnership with William Reed Business Media is going from strength to strength and the media support for Ashley Palmer-Watts’ visit to Kenya from BigHospitality and Restaurant magazine marks an exciting new phase in Farm Africa’s engagement with the wider food sector," Whiteman added.

To find out how to join Ashley Palmer-Watts and help support Farm Africa, visit the charity's website or contact Cathy Whiteman directly on For exclusive coverage of the #ChefAfrica trip keep visiting BigHospitality.

Related News

Ashley Palmer-Watts's Chef Africa photo gallery documents the Dinner by Heston Blumenthal head chef's visit to Kenya where he was the guest of Joyce Kadenge

Chef Africa: Ashley Palmer-Watts's Kenyan photo gallery

Ashley Palmer-Watts and Joyce Kadenge, his Kenyan host, take a break from Joyce's daily tasks - they both feature in a mini documentary showcasing Ashley's Chef Africa challenge

Chef Africa: Ashley Palmer-Watts' Kenyan mini-documentary video

Ashley Palmer-Watts, head chef at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, helped raise £25k for Farm Africa in a special dinner with Bruno Loubet and Paul Foster and announced he would climb Mount Kilimanjaro next year - photography courtesy of Farm Africa and Jonathan Banks

Bruno Loubet and Paul Foster join Ashley Palmer-Watts to raise more than £25k for Farm Africa

Peter Ruddick, BigHospitality's multimedia reporter, will be running the London Marathon for Farm Africa

Going the distance: BigHospitality takes on the London Marathon

Paul Foster, Ashley Palmer-Watts, John Freeman and Paulo de Tarso will all be taking part in the charity football tournament

Top UK restaurants go head-to-head for Farm Africa’s charity football tournament

The two teams in the final of last Sunday's football tournament, held to raise funds for Farm Africa

Chefs kick-off Farm Africa fundraising drive with football tournament

John Freeman, Ashley Palmer-Watts, Paul Foster, cameraman Paul Gwillam and Paolo de Tarso arrive at Kisumu airport ready to visit projects run by Farm Africa

Chefs with Altitude: Ashley Palmer-Watts and team arrive in Africa for Farm Africa Kilimanjaro climb

Paolo de Tarso, Ashley Palmer-Watts, John Freeman and Paul Foster reach the top of Kilimanjaro

Chefs with Altitude: Top chefs and restaurateurs reach Kilimanjaro summit

Osteria Francescana in Italy is one of 12 of the World's 50 Best Restaurants donating prizes to Farm Africa's 12 Days of Christmas auction

The World's 50 Best Restaurants donate meals to Farm Africa's Christmas auction

Jason Atherton will help charity Farm Africa raise thousands of pounds by preparing the menu for its Food for Good Ball

Jason Atherton to provide menu for Farm Africa Food for Good Ball

Ashley Palmer-Watts's African Diary will detail his trip to Kenya representing the hospitality industry as the chef attempts to help the Farm Africa charity which supports fish farmers in their aim of becoming self-sufficient

Chef Africa: Ashley Palmer-Watts's African Diary

During his trip to Kenya Ashley Palmer-Watts will be the guest of Joyce Kadenge and her family as the chef attempts to help the work of Farm Africa and add value to the fish her community farm and sell

Chef Africa: Follow Ashley Palmer-Watts's Kenya trip exclusively on BigHospitality

Ashley Palmer-Watts is to visit fish farmers near Kisumu in Kenya to share his hospitality industry expertise with those benefiting from the Farm Africa project

Knightsbridge to Kenya: Ashley Palmer-Watts to represent hospitality industry on Farm Africa trip

BigHospitality's news team caught up with Brett Graham on his way into the World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards before The Ledbury was revealed to be this year's Highest Climber

The World's 50 Best Restaurants Awards 2012: Interviews with Brett Graham, Ashley Palmer-Watts and Fergus Henderson

Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner is ranked 9th and The Fat Duck 13th. But were there enough UK restaurants on the list?

World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2012: Were three British restaurants enough?

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal will launch on 31 Janury 2011

Heston Blumenthal opens Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.