Farm Africa Growing Futures Project – Meet Julius, our Project Lead
In 2016, Aldi became the first UK supermarket to team up with Farm Africa, an international development charity. The partnership was very successful and the second phase of the partnership began in March 2020. The Growing Futures project aims to improve the livelihoods of young farmers in Kitale, Western Kenya.
Julius Marete is the Coordinator of Farm Africa’s Growing Futures project, funded by Aldi. We caught up with Julius in July 2020 to see how he and the team in Kenya were getting on with the second phase of the project.
Hi Julius! Tell us about yourself?
Hi! I’m really passionate about farming and have over 16 years’ experience in Agronomy, which is the science and technology of producing and using agriculture for food and land restoration. I have worked for Farm Africa for nearly six years and have been working on the Growing Futures project since November 2017.
How do you feel the Growing Futures project with Aldi has made a difference?
The projects funded by Aldi have changed the fortunes of farmers, it’s seen a rapid growth of production in the region and a continued cash flow from sales. Thanks to this, we have seen consistent schooling for children, which previously was difficult due to a lack of funds to support school fees. There is also improved nutrition, increased finances and an overall increase in wellbeing for those involved.
Fantastic! Can you describe a typical day working on the Growing Futures project?
I start my day at 08:30 in the office, before leaving for the field and starting training for 10:00. We train for about two hours and then spend some time afterwards discussing what we have learnt. After lunch, an afternoon training session starts with another group, I then return to the office to prepare for the next day, before going home to relax!
What is your proudest moment working on the project?
My proudest moment on the project isn’t just one memory, it’s the moments when we get to see the transformation of the farmers. Their health, work and home life changes for the better.
Why is the project focused on helping young people?
Young people comprise 75% of the population in Kenya and youth unemployment in the country stands at 39%; by targeting young people the project is creating self-employment opportunities, improving lives within the community and helping reduce the crime rate associated with unemployment, all while contributing to the growth of the economy!
To learn more about our ongoing partnership with Farm Africa, visit https://www.aldi.co.uk/farm-africa