February 28, 2018 7:13 am Leave your thoughts
February sees the start of Fairtrade Fortnight: at Naturally Good Food we do all we can to promote this. We’re highlighting some of our Fairtrade brands this month and next, taking a look at just what the Fairtrade mark means, and following the story of some products from harvest to shelf. We’re proud to stock a range of Fairtrade products: sugar, chocolate, rice, quinoa, tea, coffee, oil and more. These goods all go the extra mile in terms of fairness, sustainability and quality, taking us just a little bit closer to a fairer world.
Sometimes, though, it can feel a bit impersonal buying Fairtrade products from a website – a little divorced from the whole process and the stories behind the products. To try to redress this, we thought we’d share one particular story from the Fairtrade movement. It involves Fairtrade sugar, which we stock, and is a really good example of just why Fairtrade matters, and just what a lot of good you, the customer, can do.
The story of the Kasinthula sugar-growers
Sugar is one of the world’s most valuable agricultural commodities – but growing it isn’t necessarily profitable. The Kasinthula sugar-growers live in Malawi, where life is particularly difficult. The twice-yearly rains bring floods to their area, while droughts during the rest of the year make famine a distinct possibility. There’s widespread poverty and low levels of literacy. Few people can afford to keep livestock; many scrape a living by labouring on sugar plantations. Ironically, the land is fertile – but a lack of money for investment has prevented it being used to its full potential.
The Kasinthula Cane Growers Association (KCGA) was set up in 1996. An area of unproductive land was improved and converted to sugar cane production. The initiative now provides employment for around 800 permanent and seasonal field workers.
One of those who has benefited is Henry Matenda, who owns a 2.5 hectare plot of land on which he grows sugar for the KCGA. He’s married to Agnes and has a daughter Esthery (7) and son Chris (2). In his spare time, Henry likes playing and watching football (choosing to support Liverpool!).
Fairtrade Fortnight: the difference you make
The Fairtrade premium has made a huge difference to Henry’s family’s life and to the wider Kasinthula area. There’s now a primary school, which his children can attend. Six computers and three printers have been donated to local high schools and school fees have been paid.
Boreholes supply clean water to local villages – one project provides tap water to homes in Salumeji village. The Kasinthula Bilharzia Clinic is treating bilharzia with new and effective drugs and has been extended into a full healthcare clinic. Four bicycle ambulances have been bought.
Electricity has been provided for the first time to individual households, enabling farmers to buy radios and televisions, and fridges to keep food fresh in the tropical heat. Electric lighting makes it easier for children to do their homework at night. Most members of the KCG have also replaced their leaky grass-thatched huts with brick-built houses with corrugated iron roofs.
Meanwhile, the plantation continues to grow and develop, allowing more households to improve their standard of living and giving everyone in the area greater hope for the future.
Make a personal difference
Buying a bag of Fairtrade sugar is a small thing, but one that can have a big impact. If you choose a Fairtrade product this Fairtrade Fortnight, you make a real difference to people like Henry and his family, and to all the other Fairtrade projects and farmers around the world.
Click here to see a good selection of the Fairtrade products we stock.Fairtrade, Fairtrade Fortnight, Fairtrade sugar
This post was written by Yzanne