The business-focused charity Traidlinks has become part of the Gorta-Self Help Africa group, as Irish agencies delivering aid in the region target farming and trade development.

Traidlink was established to involve Irish businesses in supporting private sector development in East Africa, while Gorta-Self Help Africa already works with companies like Diageo and Devenish Nutrition, Gorta-Self Help Africa’s chief executive, Mr Ray Jordan.

While aid to developing countries had traditionally focused on securing enough food for local populations, Traidlinks helps small-scale farmers grow their production and income beyond that stage.

“With earnings from the harvest, money can be spent on healthcare, school and other necessary amenities in Africa. It’s more of a market-orientated aspect of the production,” Mr Jordan explained.

Traidlinks’s approach fits in with similar work already carried out by Gorta-Self Help Africa.

“In Kenya, the organisation is supporting households in a dairy production scheme to add value to their raw milk by pasteurisation and supporting the production of butter, yoghurt and cheese for the domestic market,” Jordan said.

It helps other Kenyan farmers sell their avocados into European markets.

“A once small farmers’ co-op in Ethiopia, which start-up was supported by Gorta-Self Help Africa in the late 1980s, recently negotiated a deal to supply fruit and vegetables to Ethiopian Airways,” Jordan said.

In Malawi, the organisation has worked with mango farmers to sell their produce to an international fruit juice manufacturer. In West Africa, it has supported the distribution of cashew nuts to a leading American snack food corporation.

Through the organisation, Diageo is supporting farmers in Ethiopia with a community-based seed multiplication scheme, “supporting farmers to grow barley which is malted and being supplied to a Diageo-owned brewery in the capital, Addis Ababa,” Jordan added.

Devenish Nutrition has also been involved with livestock feed production in Kenya. These partnerships aim to develop both source and selling markets for Africa.

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