Keith and Alan step up to take on Ugandan trek

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Two local representatives will be among a group of UK food industry leaders to face a gruelling seven-day hike up and across Mount Elgon, an extinct volcano straddling the Uganda-Kenya border, with the aim of raising £100,000 for the international charity Farm Africa.

Keith Irvine, Supply Chain Director Europe at Moy Park, who are headquartered in Craigavon, and Alan Gibson, Chief Commercial Officer with Agri-Technology business, Devenish, form part of the group undertaking this exciting challenge.

Along the way, the group will visit Farm Africa projects in both Uganda and Kenya to see how funds raised for the charity positively impact the lives of farming families in eastern Africa.

Speaking about the challenge, his second trek in aid of Farm Africa, Alan Gibson said: “Devenish has been supporting Farm Africa for three years and has raised in excess of £100,000 during that time through a number of events and initiatives. I am extremely proud to be joining this latest trek to raise further vital funds on behalf of the charity.

“Devenish’ global business is centred around providing nutritional solutions that improve health through the food supply chain, from soil to society.

“Raising funds for Farm Africa will help farmers become more self-sustaining, allowing them to feed their families and help build farm businesses. This will act as a strong motivation throughout the trek.

“Whilst undoubtedly this will be a challenging feat, it demonstrates Devenish’ and the wider food sector’s commitment to making a difference,” Alan said.

Keith Irvine added: “I feel honoured to represent Moy Park, who has been a supporter of Farm Africa’s life-changing work since 2015. Trekking the mountain will be incredibly tough, making the challenge a powerful manifestation of the food sector’s commitment to ending poverty in Africa.”

Upon arrival, the group will travel to eastern Uganda to visit Farm Africa’s sweet potatoes for prosperity project. The group will meet local farmers working with Farm Africa and gain an insight into how the organisation is helping local people earn more from their agricultural efforts.

The group will then embark on the hike up Mount Elgon. The 100-kilometre route will take them through thick montane forest into deep gorges and up the mountain’s four peaks and into Kenya. The trek will be mentally and physically challenging, with the team sleeping in tents along the way, carrying heavy bags and walking at high altitudes. To wrap up their trip, the team will visit Farm Africa’s Growing Futures project in Kenya.

Farm Africa’s chair Richard Macdonald, who is leading the trek, commented: “This trek will be one of the most physically demanding challenges many of us will face in our lifetimes. But we’ll be spurred on every step of the way in the knowledge our efforts will help families in rural Africa escape poverty.”

Headquartered in Belfast, Devenish develops and supplies nutritional solutions and technical expertise to the agri-food and human health sectors. The company has offices in the UK, US, UAE, Uganda, Mexico, Turkey and Philippines.