Aware and Fair Project to benefit Malawi SMEs

The Aware and Fair project which is being implemented by Blantyre City Council as a result of its sister relationship with the city of Hannover in Germany, is set to benefit Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) market their products to European Countries.

Nelson Mataka project member says through the project they will link SMEs with organizations that are producing various products as well as buyers at European markets.

He, therefore, says it is a requirement for all products that will be exported to be of value added products and of high quality as they will be competing at international markets.

Sylvester Mitini Nkhoma

“We are not going to provide SMEs with equipment but we will link them to lending institutions and donors to get grants. The idea is to help them to be able to get good price to help them sustain their living and for them to be accredited they have to go through a screening process by Malawi Fair Trade office,” he says.

Sylvester Mitini Nkhoma project coordinator says the project came into being as a result of the realization that poverty levels in the World are on the increase particularly in developing countries.

He says because of this growing global problems require concrete actions. Reducing global poverty and creating equally good living conditions for the entire citizenship of the World is common cause and joint task to which the entire World’s countries have made a commitment in signing the United Nations Millennium Goals.

“This does not necessarily require the community states only but also authorities to act now. Existing good relationships between local authorities established by twinning or supported through city networks, offer a basis to meet the challenges together.

“It is on this understanding that the partners which have come together for the proposed action aim to contribute to making the eight MDGs widely known and understood by all levels of the society stimulate a global commitment for Fair Trade and the achievement of MDGs,” he says.

Nkhoma adds that the project seeks to contribute to extending not only debate on strengthening more equitable and sustainable North-South relationships but also stimulate discussions premised at finding goal oriented solutions like advocating for fair play in international trade than giving handouts.

He further says the support of and demand for more sustainable local policies and responsible lifestyles can be championed.

Nkhoma further explains that the Fair Trade is a partnership which is normally entered between consumers in the West and producers in developing countries worldwide.

“It is commonly understood that most products sold in super markets or shops in developed countries are grown or produced by people living in developing countries. Usually these people are paid low prices for their work as a result, they have perpetually live in poverty.

“Although Fair Trade is a new is a new concept in most developing countries, a growing number of smallholder producers usually have to group themselves into clubs, associations or cooperatives to be able to sell various products like sugar, cotton and many others to processors in developed countries,” he says.

He therefore says Fair Trade has become one fastest growing retail sector in developed countries thereby providing the readily available competitive markets for products from developing countries.

Currently there are a number of organizations that already trading under the fair trade like Small Coffee Farmers Trust, National Smallholder farmers association of Malawi, Sukambizi Tea Association Trust and Ntchisi macadamia cooperative just to mention a few.

Aware and Fair Trade project is a European Union funded project which has a life span of two years. The project is being implemented in four European countries namely Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Malawi.

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