Over the past five weeks, I have been travelling in Africa meeting with farmers, policy experts, journalists, lobbying bodies, NGO’s and Private Investors, trying to understand the complexity of challenges facing the agricultural sector and the programmes being rolled out and investments being made, to transform agri-food systems.

I have spent time in Tanzania, Kenya, and Zimbabwe, with visits to farms that produce coffee, avocados, tea, wheat, maize, canola, bananas, seaweed, sisal, and habaneros. Other trips were spent learning about Boran cattle, visiting intensive pig units, and seeing a major Kenyan flower farm and a state-of-the-art macadamia factory.

My final stop in Zimbabwe has been learning about the difficult and emotional history of land reform under the former Mugabe Presidency, hearing from farmers who were violently removed from their farms in the early 2000s, left penniless and homeless.

It has been an emotional month trying to come to terms with the very different challenges that farmers here in Africa face. I have realised that it is a privilege that in places like the UK, we can prioritise the adoption of climate-friendly practices and talk so readily about carbon footprints when we don’t have to think about lifting families out of extreme poverty, safeguarding our businesses to cope with daily currency devaluations, navigating policy changes which can hit overnight with no time to prepare or having to dedicate budget spending to provide access to schools, medical care, and security, in order to protect employees from being attacked or thieves acting in desperation.

However, despite the challenges, I’ve never met a nation of such resilient individuals and with such pride in their country. Everywhere I go I am struck by the beauty of the landscapes, the integration of wildlife and nature, the desire for peace despite the currency of corruption, and the overwhelming sense of community and commitment to the land.