To celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight, Brian Namata, a fairtrade operations manager from Malawi, visited Salford this week. As part of Salford's bid to become a 'Fairtrade City' Brian came to speak about his work and how fairtrade has benefited his community. The Salford Fairtrade Steering Group which includes representatives from Salford Diocese Faith and Justice Commission, CAFOD, Oxfam, Christian Aid and Salford City Council, invited local retailers and campaigners to the event in the hope of promoting fairtrade in Salford. Brian Namata works for the Kasinthula Cane Growers Co-operative in Southern Malawi, the poorest region of the country. The co-operative was set up in 1998 by the Government of Malawi, the Sugar Corporation of Malawi (Sucoma) and farmers who were dependent upon subsistence farming. The land in the area was converted to sugar cane production; a 'cash crop' such as sugar cane was important for the farmers who had previously struggled to grow enough food to eat. The Kasinthula Co-operative now provides The Co-op Supermarket's own-brand fair-trade sugar. The additional income from fairtrade is to be invested in much needed community development projects in Southern Malawi; such as providing clean water to villages and the building of a secondary school and health clinic. Brian said "UK shoppers gain more from buying fair-trade sugar- more satisfaction - I hope they have a social responsibility to support others who are willing to assist themselves."
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