More money from purchases of green beans, salad onions, mango and other fresh produce in Waitrose will go back to farmers in Africa after the retailer launched its Waitrose and Partners Foundation in Senegal and The Gambia.
With contributions officially starting on February 1, Waitrose said it will give two per cent of the sales on produce with the Foundation logo on it, back to farming communities in Senegal and The Gambia.
The Gambia has grown produce for Waitrose since 1995, and Senegal since 2010 through UK suppliers G’s which owns farms on the country.
The money raised will go towards select initiatives and local charities that address issues voiced by workers and their communities. Investment from the foundation has ranged from classrooms, education, training in community farming and even opportunities to set up community radio stations.
Beverly Dixon, HR director for G’s Fresh said: “Working with the Waitrose & Partners Foundation means we have greater opportunity to support the wider community of Ngnith in Senegal, from where we grow our winter salad onions and radish.
“Together we are able to increase the funding to further develop local education, health and farming expertise, which are of significant benefit to improving the wellbeing of the community."
Julius Ngobeni, a citrus grower in South Africa was able to join adult education classes after the introduction of the scheme in the rainbow nation.
“I was a person who could not read and write but now I can take care of my family and I understand the importance of education and going to school. I think it is a very good challenge for me to go to school because I can now read and write and I can even withdraw money from a bank,” Ngobeni said.
Rob Collins, partner and managing director of Waitrose, added: “The Waitrose and Partners Foundation is increasingly important to us as we focus on being the best five per cent of the market. It not only enables us to give back to communities that need it, through it, we build stronger relationships with our overseas growers and build strong, secure supply chains to ensure the highest quality produce.”