This week Aubrey and Ndiuzayani made the long journey from Malawi to our offices in London. They are here to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight, they have visited Co-op in Manchester and Oxfam in Oxford, Kings College University and the Fairtrade All Party Parliamentary group event in Parliament. On Thursday they left us to travel North to Inverness hosted by the Scottish Fairtrade Forum, hopefully, they manage to keep warm there.
Aubrey and Ndiuzayani are representatives from Kasinthula Cane Growers Association. Their Fairtrade certified sugar has been making Divine sweet since 2005. They have 762 members who produce about 8,000 tonnes of sugar. But things have been hard for them.
Aubrey described how they had suffered a lot, recently from floods that damaged their irrigation pumps and droughts created power cuts, without water the sugar cane cannot survive. They have also had big challenges with the value of their local currency and the world price of sugar.
Ndiuzayani was keen to describe how the farmers decide at their Annual General Meeting how they are going to use their Fairtrade premiums. Over the years they have used them to buy farming machinery, to build a school, a medical clinic, and better homes, they have sunk water wells and electrified some of the villages. She also said that she was a Fairtrade product as her father died when she was young and her mother has been able to pay for her education through the Fairtrade premium, now she has a degree and is a teacher!