Waitrose sources fresh produce for its retail stores in the United Kingdom from inter alia South Africa, Kenya and Ghana in Africa. The socio-economic and socio-political environment in which producers of agricultural products operate in these countries are, like most other African countries, not conducive to real economic growth and sustainable livelihoods for workers and their families. The deep rural areas often are scarcely resourced and economically disempowered.
Waitrose and its supply partners in 2005 resolved to secure the sustainability of the supply chain through an investment in the socio-economic development of the communities at the very root of the supply process – the farm workers and their families.
The Waitrose Foundation (Southern Africa) (WF (SA)) subsequently opened its doors in 2006 in Simondium, Paarl as a partnership initiative between UK-based Waitrose and its supply partners. Joining Waitrose as founding partners were Green Marketing International, Poupart and Gordon Fairbrother with 6 citrus growers as the first Grower-members of WF (SA). Namibian Growers later in 2013 also joined WF (SA).
Today the Waitrose Foundation (SA) are supported by Waitrose, 9 Importers, 21 Exporters and 58 Growers producing wine, citrus, grapes, avocados, stone fruit, soft fruit and top fruit on 160 different farms across Southern Africa.