Scotland-Malawi trade links highlighted in Westminster Hall debate

17 June 2016

Scottish MPs use Westminster Hall debate on Jobs and Livelihoods in Developing Countries to highlight the impact Scotland-Malawi links are having in this area.

We are delighted that two Scottish MPs used the 15th June Westminster Hall debate on Jobs and Livelihoods in Developing Countries to highlight the impact Scotland-Malawi links are having in this area.

CLICK HERE to read the debate in full and CLICK HERE to watch it online (Malawi speeches start at 10.08am and 10.27am)

The SMP is active in promoting our members’ work to all Scottish MPs and MSPs. CLICK HERE for a briefing showing SMP Malawi links in every Scottish MP constituency and CLICK HERE for details of Malawi links in every MSP constituency/region.

The 'Jobs and Livelihoods in Developing Countries' debate was secured by Jeremy Lefroy MP: a kind supporter of the Scotland Malawi Partnership who is committed to international community linking. He sits on the International Development Committee.

Both Stuart Donaldson MP (West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine) and Lisa Cameron MP (East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow) spoke passionately in the debate about links between Scotland and Malawi which have helped stimulate job development and economic growth. They both also spoke about having met Howard Msukwa and Kenneth Mwakasungula, Malawian small-holder rice farmers, who recently visited Scotland with Just Trading Scotland (JTS).

Scotland Malawi Partnership members, JTS, import Kilombero rice into Scotland from the north of Malawi. This rice is helping not only create jobs and build livelihoods in Karonga but is also advancing gender equality, bringing in funds to support education, supporting sustainable economic development at a community level, and helping Malawi diversify its exports away from tobacco. Last month we helped launch the JTS Kilombero Rice in Co-operative supermarkets across Scotland. We encourage all members to help make this fantastic Malawian export sell out, so other supermarkets are able to take it on.

CLICK HERE to buy the JTS Kilombero rice online

Stuart Donaldson MP also used his speech to promote Mzuzu Coffee, which the SMP is also active in supporting. We support three ranges of Mzuzu Coffee now available in Scotland: Malawi AAA Coffee by Luckie Beans; Mzuzu Fairtrade ground coffee by Tradecraft; and our own Scotland Street Coffee with Alexander McCall Smith and Brodies.

CLICK HERE for details on all Malawian products the Scotland Malawi Partnership is helping to build markets for.

The SMP has met with Lisa Cameron MP a number of times since her election last May. She is a strong supporter of the Scotland Malawi Partnership and also sits on the UK Parliament’s Select Committee on International Development.

During the debate, Lisa Cameron MP said:

“Unemployment affects women and disabled people disproportionately. The target includes full and productive employment for all and equal pay for work of equal value, ensuring that no one is left behind. An example to consider is work that has been funded in Malawi, including projects focused on job development and economic growth. This month I met Malawian farmers who had developed a fair trade enterprise that enabled many people in their community to develop sustainable businesses. Their venture supported others besides their own families, and enabled many children to attend school. I would like DFID in future to fund initiatives of that type and think about developing them.”

Stuart Donaldson MP met Howard and Kenneth at the SMP’s Road Trip event in Aberdeen and was inspired by their speech about the impact rice sales in Scotland were having in their local communities. Stuart is pictured here with David Hope-Jones at the road trip event.

During the debate, Stuart Donaldson MP said:

“Work funded by the Scottish Government has included projects focusing on job development and economic growth in Malawi. For over a decade, they have supported the Scotland Malawi Partnership and its sister organisation, the Malawi Scotland Partnership, which is based in Malawi. Through the two organisations, more than 94,000 Scots and 198,000 Malawians work in partnership together, and more than 300,000 Scots and 2 million Malawians benefit from those activities every year. The ​main focus of the Scotland Malawi Partnership is to work in dignified partnership with local people or Ubale, as they say in Chichewa. Scotland is playing an active and important role in helping to support jobs and livelihoods in Malawi by building markets for Malawian products.

“Kilombero rice is a high-quality aromatic rice which the Malawi Government believe is an important export crop. For smallholder farmers it is an effective cash crop, which is popular among the urban population. The challenge is to assist more farmers to turn their smallholdings into effective, market-orientated, small businesses, which together can dramatically improve the livelihoods of people in northern Malawi.

“JTS—Just Trading Scotland—is a Scottish fair trade importer. KASFA—Kaporo Smallholder Farmers Association—is a farmers’ association in northern Malawi. They have been working together, with support from the Scottish Government’s international development fund, to improve livelihoods and to strengthen communities. Since 2009, JTS has been working to establish a market for Kilombero rice, selling through civic society groups in Scotland: schools, churches and fair trade groups. This in turn has encouraged fine food distributor, Cotswold Fayre, and larger retailers like the Co-op to stock the product.

“Howard Msukwa and Kenneth Mwakasungula, who are both rice farmers, visited Scotland last month to promote the launch of the rice in Co-operative food stores across Scotland and to tell people about the project’s success. The benefits of the scheme have been recognised by local rice farmers in Malawi. I had the pleasure of hearing both gentlemen speak at the Scotland Malawi Partnership road trip in Aberdeen.

“…The work of the Scottish Government and the Scotland Malawi Partnership demonstrates how Government aid and civic society can work to create markets for developing countries that will support jobs and livelihoods in the developing world.”

David and Stuart