Stonehaven Fairtrade Steering Group held a public meeting during Fairtrade Fortnight (on Tuesday March 6) at which Mr Masauko Khembo, a sugar cane producer from Kasinthula in Malawi, spoke. Masauko is General Manager of Kasinthula Cane Growers Limited, a company owned by sugar cane farmers who form a cooperative.
Mr Kembo told the meeting how Fairtrade had improved the lives of the farmers and their families. There is a premium paid for Fairtrade produce. Members of the cooperative agreed to use some of the Fairtrade Premium to buy building material like cement and iron roofing sheets, and to pay school fees.
The extra income from Fairtrade sales has allowed virtually all members to build new houses. Small mud huts with flimsy thatched roofs have been replaced by larger, sturdy houses with brick walls and iron roofs.
Mr Khembo showed pictures of one of the bicycle ambulances used in the area. These provide a cheap and simple way of transporting people for medical treatment.
Fairtrade refreshments were served at the meeting by ladies of Dunnottar Church. The Cooperative store in David Street donated products that were used. The Cooperative Group is a strong supporter of Fairtrade, this being one of the priorities set by its members. There was a Fairtrade stall. The stall had also been set up the previous Saturday at the Farmers’ Market.
Earlier in the day Mr Khembo visited Mackie Academy where he talked to schoolchildren in S2 and S3 and answered questions.
Peter Bellarby, Chair of the Fairtrade Steering Group, said: “There has been a lot of support for Fairtrade across all parts of the Stonehaven community. We are well on the way towards the goal of making Stonehaven a Fairtrade Town.”