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The Future Belongs to The Organiser!

In September we were lucky enough to be involved in the Just Trading Scotland ‘Producer Tour’ with Webster and Howard, rice farmers from Malawi. Chair and Vice-Chair of the Kaporo Smallholder Farmers Association (KASFA) respectively, they were touring the UK to share their experiences of life in Malawi, and how partnerships with Just Trading Scotland have made a remarkable difference to their farming communities.


Ten years ago farmers across Northern Malawi came together to discuss how to address their problems of food insecurity; we heard how farmers stood up alongside community leaders with a clear message: “We cannot continue to live in poverty, we need change!”


A partnership with Just Trading Scotland began, to open new markets for their food crops, to increase incomes and to work together to alleviate poverty. Now with over 7000 members KASFA empowers farmers by opening up markets to small holder farmers, enabling them to live with dignity and hope.


Photo credit: Just Trading Scotland

Being part of KASFA, gives voice to the small producer. Farmers have been able to access training, high quality seeds, and farming equipment; all of which have increased yields, and thus incomes. With an increased income farmers have been able to afford to send their children to school, have invested in ox-carts, mobile phones and more. All of these may seem small to us, but these are profound changes.


It is paramount that there is a customer base for the rice. Without consumers in the UK buying the rice, farmers would not have an income, or food to eat. It is so humbling to know that the simple action of us buying a bag of rice here in the UK can change the world for farmers in Malawi. It matters that we know where our food comes from. It matters that people are paid a fair wage in return for the work that they do. We are all connected; and there are people behind every single product we use, wear, eat, everyday. Do you always know where your food comes from?


We were struck by the poignancy of all key players being present in the same room – farmers, business, shops, and consumers. It is only when ALL of us work together that real change can happen.


And change we do make. Together with schools, organisations, local businesses and people like you, fairandfunky have taken on the 90kg rice challenge* and sold over 1000kg of rice. And we keep going! We are 56 bags away from our 14th 90kg rice challenge – will you be part of it? Click here to buy a bag of rice and with our partnership with The Welcome Centre in Huddersfield you can buy rice to donate directly to them.


Howard and Webster told the businesses, Fairtrade Support Groups, schools, and organisations gathered at Honley High School that the slogan of KASFA is “The future belongs to the organiser.” Let us get organised, let us make noise, and let us all take little steps to change the world.


Take a step right now! Click here to buy a bag of rice and donate to The Welcome Centre.


Thank you to Kirklees Fairtrade for sponsoring the event, and to Black Cat Bistro for providing delicious Kilombero rice salad for all attendees. 


*Discover how the 90kg rice challenge changes the world for farmers in Malawi in the following blogs:

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