Adam Leyland Farm Africa

The trek entails a 60-mile hike over five days

Adam Leyland, The Grocer’s editor-in-chief, is embarking on a “gruelling” trek in western Tanzania to raise money for Farm Africa.

He will be taking part in the Mahale Mountains Challenge, joining 14 other senior industry executives from Aldi and Arla to Pilgrims and Sainsbury’s in Farm Africa’s first post-pandemic sponsored walk.

Farm Africa, founded in 1985, helps empower smallholder farmers in East Africa, reducing poverty and hunger, promoting greater gender equality, fighting climate change and preventing the loss of habitat that comes from the low crop yields from which chronic underinvestment, poverty and climate change have resulted.

Its role is simple: helping these farmers to grow more food – whether it’s sesame and sunflower seeds, poultry, wheat, fruit and veg, even aquaculture – and to sell it at a higher price. But the support needed to create and execute its programmes is complex and lengthy as it seeks to work with local communities in sometimes very remote locations.

The trek entails a 60-mile hike over five days, from 16-21 September, in which the team will help forge pathways and trade routes through remote forest and bushland in the Mahale Mountains on the border of Lake Tanganyika, while also learning about the work of Farm Africa via visits to its projects.

Leyland said he was “delighted to be taking part in the expedition but also a bit terrified”.

“Delighted because it is such a brilliant charity and I’m hoping I can use The Grocer’s reach to raise money and highlight the important work it does, while getting better acquainted with some amazing industry colleagues.

“But I’m also a bit terrified. Not only because walking in the sweltering 35°C conditions over mountainous terrain will be gruelling, but because I also need to raise at least £5,000 to justify my place on the trip.

“So I would be hugely grateful for industry support in reaching my target. And I’m also indebted to my employer, William Reed, for supporting my travel costs. It means that 100% of the money raised will go to the farmers and their families.”

William Reed, owner of The Grocer, has been an active supporter of Farm Africa for many years. CEO Charles Reed, who is a Farm Africa trustee, led the first-ever expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro in 2011, and has taken part in two further challenges, while retail and manufacturing MD Lorraine Hendle took part in two all-women trips building beehives.  

To sponsor Leyland’s trek, and for more information about Farm Africa, please visit Adam’s JustGiving page. You can also follow him on his exploits via Twitter/X.