The following article is kindly reproduced with permission from BAFTS’ supplier member JTS, in connection with their Kilombero Rice Launch a few weeks ago. The article was written by Rhona Kiernan, of Young Reporters for the Environment, Scotland.
“Education is often taken for granted in Britain, and children complain about teachers, homework and exams, but in other countries, education is highly valued. Secondary education is not free in many of these countries, and there are other costs – food, housing, clothing – to be paid for first before education can even be considered.”
Mr Humza Yousaf, Minister for Europe and International Development, was in Margiotta Food & Wine in Edinburgh today to support the first commercial retailer to stock Kilombero rice. Also present were John Riches from Just Trading Scotland (JTS) and Keith Bohannon from the Scotland-Malawi Partnership.
JTS, a not-for-profit company, is working to help Malawian children receive an education by working in close partnership with rice farmers. The income from only 90kg of this rice is enough to pay for one year of secondary education for one child in Malawi. This will make a massive difference to children’s lives. Mr Yousaf said that “People don’t quite understand the scale of the challenges that exist in some of these countries.” He would encourage young people to put their energy into responding to these challenges through voluntary work, creating publicity, and raising funds. Many people today are involved in these important activities, but we can ensure that making a difference is embedded in our daily lives by being conscious of supporting ethically produced food. By making one small change, every single person can help support the Sustainable Development Goals, which 195 countries agreed to in New York on 25th September 2015.
Some people struggle to think about foreign aid as a priority, especially during times when UK crises lead the news. Happily, it isn’t necessary to do anything extra in order to support this valuable campaign. Rice is a store cupboard essential in the UK, and all we need to do is change the brand of rice we buy. We don’t need to volunteer for long hours, pay large sums of money, or do anything out of the ordinary: simply buy Kilombero rice. Every time. That’s all. UNICEF estimate that only 13% of Malawian children go to secondary school. The sale of two kilograms of Kilombero rice means over one week of education for one of these Malawian children.
Hopefully, today’s launch at Margiotta Food & Wine is the first step for this rice to be stocked by more retailers and large chains. As JTS chairman John Riches said, “together, we can all start a rice revolution right here in Scotland.”