Renfrewshire fair trade organisation Just Trading Scotland (JTS) are to have their Kilombero rice sold by a national retailer.
Malawi High Commissioner to the UK, Kena Mphonda, was present to witness the launch of the new partnership which will see the Co-operative sell the Malawian rice in its Scottish stores.
The High Commissioner was joined by representatives of the Co-operative, JTS and visiting Malawian farmers to celebrate the expansion of the product to a national level.
The launch comes seven years after JTS began working on a development project with a smallholder farmers’ co-operative in Northern Malawi.
The rice is grown by the farmers- who are paid a fair price for their produce helping to provide a sustainable income for their families- and imported by JTS for sale in the UK.
In the past seven years the organisation has sold over 100 tonnes of rice to local schools, churches, fair trade groups and shops across Scotland.
The organisation also recently agreed a partnership with Cotswold Fayre- a leading fine food distribution company- to bring Kilombero Rice to market in London and the entire UK market.
Councillor Jim Sharkey, Chair of the Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Group, said: “It is terrific for Just Trading Scotland to have their Kilombero rice sold in Co-operative stores.
“I’ve seen firsthand the effort they have put in to promote and sell the rice which creates a better future for the producers in Malawi and their children.
“The steering group exists to promote the message of fair trade and it is encouraging to see one of our members excelling in this manner.”
John Riches, chairman at Just Trading Scotland, said: “This is an exciting day for JTS – we are delighted to be working in partnership with the Co-op.
“By purchasing Kilombero rice from the Co-op, we can all make a huge difference and unlock the potential of people and communities in Malawi.”
Alasdair Fowle, Divisional Marketing Manager for the North, said: “We are delighted to be listing the Kilombero rice in 79 of our stores across Scotland and hope to extend this to additional stores in Scotland and the remainder of the UK later in the year.
“Our customers enjoy the high quality products we offer, safe in the knowledge that we are committed to ethical sourcing and this product is another demonstration of how important it is to our brand.”
“It is a significant step forward for us as an organisation and we aim to build on this to create a brighter future for smallholder farmers and their families.”
To find out more about Just Trading Scotland visit: www.jts.co.uk.