At their annual World Food Day conference on Tuesday, October 16, Gorta announced that it is entering into a strategic partnership with Offaly-based company Glenisk.

A dairy food processing facility in the Rift Valley in Keringet, Kenya - which is financially supported by Gorta - will be at the centre of the partnership and will aim to create gainful employment and develop skills in the area.

Both Gorta and Glenisk will be working with small farmers to build and develop small farm businesses which will provide a regular supply of quality milk for processing and a much improved income for families.

According to Brian Hanratty, Gorta CEO, “Gorta has always encouraged business involvement in Africa and is delighted that a hugely successful company like Glenisk have agreed to invest their business development skills, processing experience and advice in this initiative. It will give the people in Keringet an opportunity to create a sustainable social enterprise that will have knock on effects for the entire community.

“The very ethos of Gorta is one of sustainable development in communities most in need. This is another example of a working and developing partnership that will deliver real and lasting results through job creation, providing a much needed income for families in the Keringet area,” he added.

Glenisk is a fast growing successful indigenous Irish agri-food business and Gorta is the longest established overseas development agency in Ireland. With its local community partners, Gorta has identified a market for dairy products, including yoghurt. It is partnering with Glenisk to create this community enterprise and will work towards enabling them to mirror Glenisk and become the leading quality brand in their own area of Kenya.

Vincent Cleary, Managing Director of Glenisk said, “It has always been my ambition to help to create a sustainable food business in a developing country. Working with Gorta has presented me with an opportunity to realise this goal. Having developed a business in the agri-food sector over the past twenty-five years in Ireland, Glenisk is privileged to offer advice and expertise to the community in Keringet at this critical time in their start-up (enterprise). I will be travelling to Kenya early next year and I hope I will be in a position to announce the start of production on a commercial scale, the creation of jobs, development of skills and the building of a much needed sustainable business there.”

The community in Keringet has already been involved with Gorta in a significant programme of social, business and leadership development aiming to establish sustainable social enterprise in the region. The first new business initiative is the establishment of a yoghurt making facility and production of this has already commenced on a small scale.

This year’s World Food Day addresses a similar aspect of business development. It will critically examine the theme of agricultural cooperatives which put people at the centre of their operations and in doing so help their members achieve shared social, cultural and economic aspirations. The conference will also explore the theme of farmers acting collectively to take better advantage of market opportunities and lessen the negative effects of food insecurity and other crises.

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