Members of the Scottish Parliament have come together to officially launch Malawi’s Linga fruit wine into Scotland, and promote other Malawian exports as part of Scotland’s ‘Buy Malawian’ campaign.
A Malawian winery with an50-year history with Scotland officially launched their wines in Scotland this week.Linga Fruit Wines, based near Lilongwe, launched their 7-bottle export collection at a special meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Malawilast night.
Linga Wine has its own 50-year friendship with Scotland. It began in 1965 when Rev Tom Colvin, an engineer and missionary from Glasgow and an enthusiastic fruit wine maker, took up the position as Chaplain of the new University of Malawi.
When communion wine stocks ran low, Rev Colvin shared his passion for fruit wine-making with Timothy Ngwira, a student of Chemistry and Biology at the university.
In 1970 Rev Colvin married Timothy Ngwira to Margaret Gunn, a Scottish VSO volunteer from Lennoxtown, Glasgow, later giving them all the equipment and literature to start their own small-scale fruit wine production.
In 1978 the Ngwiras started wine making. They registered the company Linga Fine Foods and Winery in 2005 and after almost 40 years of hand crafting fruit wine, they are now starting to export to Scotland.
At the Malawi Cross Party Group meeting,six Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) took part in a blind-tasting competition, trying to identify the fruit behind the wines. They had a video connection between Edinburgh and Lilongwe, with Timothy and Margaret Ngwiratalking MSPs through the tasting experience.
The tasting competition was won by Linda Fabiani MSP, the Scottish Parliament’s Deputy Presiding Officer, winning a special wine glass trophy hand-carved in Malawi. Linda Fabiani MSP, like many MSPs, has been a supporter of Scotland’s links with Malawi for many years, having greatly enjoyed visiting the country as part of the Parliament-to-Parliament links.
Linga wine producer, Margaret Ngwira said: “We were delighted to launch Linga Wine into Scotland with this special event in the Scottish Parliament, as part of the Scotland Malawi Partnership’s ‘Buy Malawian’ campaign.
“This is a very significant event which will create a high level of awareness of the diversity of what Malawi has to offer.
“The friendship with Scotland being developed through the Scotland Malawi Partnership goes down through the generations.
“This opportunity is beyond anything that Linga Wine could have expected and we are humbled that it is taking place. We appreciate that the Members of Parliament spared their time to attend. And we appreciate the innovative work of the Scotland Malawi Partnership which is making it possible.
“Linga Wine has its roots in Scotland so in some ways this is our homecoming!”
Linga Wine is one of 15 Malawian products now available to buy in Scotland.
The Scotland Malawi Partnership is running a special six-week ‘Buy Malawian’ campaign to encourage Scots to buy Malawian products in celebration of the birthday of David Livingstone, the Scottish explorer who began the special relationship between the two nations more than 150 years ago.
Through his travels, Dr Livingstone looked to open new trade routes into Africa to support its economic development: this campaign continues his work 150 years on.
To launch the campaign, the charity is giving Scots a chance to win a holiday to Malawi which has been generously donated by tourism operators in Malawi.
15 different Malawian products are included within the campaign, including coffee, rice, nuts, gin and wine.
Many of these products, like Linga Wine have their own story of Scotland-Malawi cooperation.Coffee in Malawi, for example, originally dates back originally to a single plant brought from the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens in the 1880’s.
26 MSPs have uploaded selfies of themselves with Malawian products as part of the campaign, from all five political parties in the Scottish Parliament. UK Pop Star Gareth Gates has also joined the campaign, photographed with Malawian Kilombero Rice.
David Hope-Jones OBE, Chief Executive of the Scotland Malawi Partnership said:“We’re thrilled to have launched Malawi’s Linga Wine into Scotland. Scots have been enjoying Malawi Gin for generations and we’re sure Linga Wine will be equally loved by Malawi’s many friends across Scotland.
“We are keen that Malawi is known for its world-class exports and we are delighted help build Scottish markets for these fantastic products.
“Malawi operates a trade-deficit, importing more than it exports. By building markets for Malawian exports, we are able to help support sustainable livelihoods as Malawi works its way out of poverty.
“Scotland is proud of its 150 year old partnership with Malawi. Part of this friendship today is about helping build up brand ‘Malawi’: showing the very best of Malawian exports, encouraging Scots to buy these products, to invest in Malawi and to choose to holiday in Malawi. We are doing our bit to support the Malawian economy.”
The Scotland Malawi Partnership (SMP) is the national civil society network coordinating, supporting and representing the people-to-people links between our two nations. It represents more than 1,000 Scottish organisations and key individuals with Malawi links, including every Scottish university, over 200 schools, half Scotland’s local authorities, and hundreds of churches, businesses and community groups.
Information about the products available as part of the campaign and the ‘win a holiday’ competition is availablehttp://scotland-malawipartnership.org/get-involved/buymalawian/Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :