The Fair Traders Co-operative is supporting a campaign to send more children to school in Malawi. Our Rice Challenge is under way throughout September, and will be formally launched at Holmfirth’s Food and Drink Festival later in the month, with the goal of ‘eating people out of poverty’. We hope to sell at least 90kg of fair trade rice during September, and another 90kg on the weekend of Holmfirth Food and Drink Festival.
Have you ever thought that the brand of rice you buy could have an impact on whether children in Africa attend school or not? Well, by buying fairly traded rice instead of your usual brand, you really can make this difference. So here at The Fair Traders Co-operative we are launching a Rice Challenge to help increase sales of fair trade rice so that more Malawian farmers can afford an education for their children.
About 8 million people, or almost 70 per cent of Malawians, live below the poverty line. More than 90 per cent of them live in rural areas and depend on subsistence farming for their livelihoods. Only one in three children in Malawi attends high school, and yet there is clear evidence that education is one of the most effective ways to escape poverty. If a farmer in Malawi can sell 90kg of rice at a fair price, he or she makes sufficient income to send one child to school.
The Fair Traders Co-operative Rice Challenge makes it easy for you to support the livelihoods of Malawian farmers whilst enjoying high quality rice, and we will try to provide feedback for those buying The Fair Traders Co-operative’s Kilombero fair trade rice about the children and families helped by their purchases.
“This is a very exciting challenge,” says Anna Watson of The Fair Traders Co-operative. “For us it’s a way to get the message out there that shoppers really can make a huge difference to people’s lives just through the everyday purchases they make and the stores they choose to shop in. Here at The Fair Traders Co-operative we assess every product we sell for its impact on people and the planet, and customers can see the results of that assessment at a glance before they buy. We really want this Rice Challenge to inspire people by showing them the positive impact that choosing fair trade can have.”
The campaign launch at Holmfirth Food and Drink Festival will involve a presentation on Saturday 24th September by John Riches, of Just Trading Scotland, the fair trade company which imports the Kilombero rice on which the Rice Challenge is focused. John has first hand knowledge of the rice farmers and the difficulties they face. As a founder of a well established fair trade company and experienced campaigner, John will share share his story and bring that of the Malawian farmers to life.
There will also be a cookery demonstration and tasting session during the Food and Drink Festival by a Malawian cook in Holmfirth Market Hall at 2pm on Saturday 24th September, using the Kilombero rice. And if you come along to the Holme Valley Fairtrade Support Group stall during the festival, you will be faced with a ‘rice mountain’, representing the 90kg of fairly traded rice a Malawian farmer needs to sell in order to send one child to school.
Anyone buying our fair trade rice during the Rice Challenge will be invited to pledge to buy fair trade rice from The Fair Traders Co-operative so that rice farmers in Malawi can have a secure future. They will then be able to chart the shop’s progress towards sending more children to school in Malawi on the ‘rice-ometer’ to be displayed inside the shop and on its website.
So do join in with the challenge and BUY SOME RICE! … Let’s see just how many children we can help to an education and a way out of poverty. Click here to link to the Kilombero fair trade rice in our online store.