JTS 10th Anniversary - ‘Dignity through trade’
‘Dignity through trade’ – how a Paisley company has been helping smallholder farmers in the developing world out of poverty and educating a network of tens of thousands of individual supporters on the impact that their food purchasing choices make on these farmers.
JTS (Just Trading Scotland) is well known as an ethical business that imports high-quality foodstuffs from smallholder farmers in Africa and Asia. Based in Paisley, they import and sell many amazing products including the delicious and Great Taste Award winning Kilombero rice from Northern Malawi, sun-ripened jams and chutneys from The Kingdom of Eswatini and the first ever Fairtrade certified organic coconut milk from Sri Lanka.
JTS has now reached its 10th Anniversary. They are launching their 10-year report this week, highlighting cumulative sales of over £2m of fair and fine foods. The importance of fair trade, the continued need for gender equity and the need for sustainable development across the world fuel the ambition of JTS and its employees to make an even bigger impact in the years to come.
There is a close partnership between Scotland and Malawi and JTS has helped to improve education, living standards and working conditions for the smallholder rice farmers in remote northern Malawi. Particularly through the ‘90kg Rice Challenge’, they have played a part in educating the next generation and encouraging schools and community groups to get involved. Over 500 schools and 300 faith groups have taken on the challenge of selling 90 kg of rice – the amount that will enable a farmer to pay for one year of a child’s secondary education – so far.
This means that the ’90 kg Rice Challenge’ has involved more than 20,000 schoolchildren and 10,000 adults and taught the participants about global citizenship, the impact of fair trade and why supporting sustainable environmentally-friendly farming in the developing world is crucial for the future of the planet and its entire population.
Fraser Boyd a teacher at Robert Douglas Memorial School, Scone, Perth said “We’ve taken part in the Kilombero Rice Challenge for several years now, selling the rice at a stall run by the children during Parents’ Evenings. Coupled with the excellent teaching resources we use with the children first, the stall allows the children to talk to parents and carers about the point of the challenge, the impact of fairly traded products and their own role as global citizens in helping to enact change and increase access to education. Learners in schools taking part in the challenge will gain a great sense of respect for the value of their own education when they are supported in thinking about how hard others have to work to go to secondary school in Malawi. Teachers and parents alike have noticed how enthused the children are in talking about fair trade and why Scotland’s own historic and present connections to Malawi make the challenge even more significant. I would warmly encourage schools across Scotland to take on the challenge. We are a school of 500+ pupils and we’ve regularly managed 4 x 90kg challenges in an academic year. “
On 26 March 2019, JTS will be celebrating their 10th anniversary with a reception in the Scottish Parliament being organised in conjunction with Scottish Fair Trade Forum. This event is set to mark the beginning of a new era for JTS, celebrating co-operation with long term partners and inviting new customers and supporters to join the journey.