Nuffield Scholars on the BBC!

Get your radios ready (or your phones if you’d rather catch up on iPlayer) because…

This coming Monday kicks off a series of reports we made for BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today, about our Global Focus Programme in Kenya and South Africa.

Tune into BBC Radio 4 from Monday to Friday, 5.45am, to follow our African adventures and don’t miss the full programme on Saturday August 20th at 6.35am. If that’s too early for you, catch up with Farming Today on the BBC website.

So what’s a Global Focus Programme you say? It’s a six-week, whistle-stop tour of farms and food production systems all over the world organised by Nuffield International. This year there were five GFPs each focused on a different part of the globe – Africa, Brazil, China, India and Japan.

I was on the African tour along with seven fellow Nuffield Scholars.


Every day next week there will be a short package profiling each of my travel buddies, culminating in an extended 25 minute programme on Saturday, August 20th.

I couldn’t have wished for a better group of people to travel with…introducing:

Lachlan (Lachie) Green

Free Range Egg Producer, Australia


Lachie has a mixed farming operation in Victoria but the main part of his business are his 35,000 ‘chucks’. Look out for #ChickenManOnTour on Twitter. You’ll hear Lachie’s story on Monday when he meets a group of new farming entrants in South Africa and shares advice about starting out in agriculture. It was great to meet this ambitious group of black South African farmers who, under the Apartheid regime, had struggled to get access to land and finance. Now, they are forging ahead with exciting plans for the land and food production.

Farmer to Farmer Exchange 2
Our GFP crew at the farmer-to-farmer exchange near Pretoria, South Africa





 Maeve O’Keeffe

Dairy Farmer, Ireland

Tiffany Maeve and Sharon
Maeve with Tiffany and Sharon, pupils at the Christopher Kiamba Memorial School in Kenya

Maeve milks 130 cows in County Cork and couldn’t believe her eyes when we visited a dairy farm in Kenya which hand-milks 190 cows into buckets, in a field! Maeve lends a hand (earning the nickname ‘Milkmaid’ for the rest of the trip) and shares her thoughts on a system that disappeared from commercial farms in Ireland many moons ago. On Saturday, August 20th there’s an extended version of Maeve’s report featuring an inspirational visit to a Kenyan school for girls.

Maeve Milking

William Harrington

Cattle Rancher, Australia

Anna Interviewing William on Safari
Interviewing William on safari

William swaps his 44,000 acre Queensland cattle station for a Kenyan safari. He took approximately ten million photographs during our GFP and was captivated by the fantastic wildlife we saw in Africa, including elephants, zebra, giraffes, wildebeest and buffalo. In his report William shares his thoughts on balancing the needs of wildlife with the need to produce food.


Scholars on Safari
Africa GFP on a game drive in Kenya

Luciano Loman

Agri-Engineer, Brazil


Luciano designs and markets weather stations which help farmers predict climatic patterns and changes. His Nuffield Scholarship is looking at vertical agriculture and urban food production. He meets the ‘micro farmers’ of Cape Town, who are growing fresh produce on marginal land in the townships.


Sorting veg harvested from the townships in Cape Town, South Africa


Dennis Holder

Blue Crab Fisherman, Australia

Dennis is happiest when at sea on his boat the ‘Silver Spectre’. He is passionate about fishing in the deep blue so when he visits a fish farm, under plastic, in land-locked Johannesburg, it makes for some interesting discussion.

Dennis Holder and William Kelly
Dennis (right) with fish farmer William Kelly at a tilapia farm in Johannesburg, South Africa

Tim Smith

Cattle Rancher, Canada
Tim Smith

Tim raises Aberdeen Angus beef on his farm in Alberta so a visit to a remote Kenyan ranch was quite a departure from what he’s used to. The African Boran breed is a bit bonier and it takes three years to fatten a calf – Tim’s used to doing the job in 14 months! The herd is penned overnight to protect them from lions and herdsmen are employed full-time to look after them, a cost many Western farmers could never stretch to.

Richard Fowler

Dairy Farmer, New Zealand

You won’t hear Richard’s voice until Saturday’s programme when he sums up the GFP experience with some wise words. Richard milks 650 cows on Maori land in Te Puke on the North Island of New Zealand under a share-farming agreement.

Richard shaking hands with Joe Musomba, founder of the Christopher Kiamba Memorial School which will feature on Farming Today next Saturday, August 20th 2016


Tune into BBC Radio 4 from Monday to Friday, 5.45am, to follow their adventures in Africa and don’t miss the full programme on Saturday, August 20th at 6.35am. If that’s too early for you, catch up on iPlayer here:




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