Fair trade campaigners in Dundee are hoping local groups will join a project to help farmers in one of the world’s poorest countries.
Rice is one of the main cash crops in Malawi, and selling just 90 kilos will provide a farmer with enough money to send one of his children to school for a year.
The Dundee Fair Trade Forum is holding a Malawian rice evening tonight to coincide with its annual meeting.
Convener Ann Gammack said, “For many Malawian farmers access to the markets of rich countries like Britain is often very difficult, but the income from this rice is vital to help pay for education.
“As we continue to campaign to ensure Dundee retains its Fair Trade city status, we are constantly raising awareness of the importance of Fair Trade to so many people in the developing world.”
The east African country has long had links with Scotland, going back to 19th century missionary David Livingstone, and there is a co-operation agreement between the Scottish and Malawian governments.
Dundee Fair Trade Forum was set up in 2002 to encourage people to use Fair Trade products, which aim to ensure producers in poor countries get a good deal. More than 4500 products are now covered by the scheme, which helps support almost eight million farmers and workers and their families in 58 countries.
The annual meeting will hear highlights of the past year include a tea dance attended by 300 people. Some eight schools have signed up for the Fair Trade award scheme, and a schools’ conference will be run in the city by the Fair Trade Foundation in November.
The meeting takes place in the Baxter Suite at Dundee University’s Tower Building at 7pm.
City councillor Richard McCready said, “It is important to support the work of the Fair Trade Forum, which led to Dundee being declared a Fair Trade city. There is, however, much more to do and I hope the forum will keep up the pressure to ensure that fair trade is promoted throughout the city.”