Members of Malawi Parliament Explore Accelerating Fair Trade

A Fairtrade Breakfast meeting, co-organized by the Fair Trade Network of Malawi and Fairtrade Africa, was held in early June in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe. It convened more than 60 representatives from Malawi’s Parliament, producer organizations, the donor community and civil society to discuss formally and informally the opportunities Fairtrade offers to the Malawian agricultural sector.

The Malawi Fair Trade Network chaired the meeting and facilitated a panel discussion with representatives from sugar, groundnuts and tea industries – areas where Fairtrade is thriving. This also included a glimpse of the current market opportunities in the UK and the initiatives the system is currently taking to grow that market.During his keynote speech, the Principle Secretary for the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Mr. Nerbet Nyirenda, corroborated the natural alignment of Fairtrade with government’s focus on reducing poverty, promoting sustainable growth and protecting the environment. Furthermore, he presented his vote of support for the incorporation of Fairtrade into the national export strategy.

In addition to the formal agenda, the event offered producers an opportunity to sample their products and interact with all guests at an exhibition space. The audience was captivated by the stories of premium projects and market potential for Malawian products; and also raised critical questions about the potential for expansion of Fairtrade in the system.

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