Women in Coffee – Meet Martha Mhango

We all love our morning coffee. But less of us know how it got from the bean into our cups. If you’d like to learn a little bit more about exactly where some of your favourite fair trade coffees originate, join us on a Meet the People Tour to northern Malawi, to meet some of the farmers who harvest the coffee beans for Traidcraft’s delicious coffee.

Mzuzu Coffee Planters Cooperative Union Limited (MCPCU), spread across Northern and Central Malawi, have been harvesting coffee since the early 1930s. Pioneering in its field, Mzuzu’s focus is on its farmers and sustainability. Mzuzu farmers are offered training on sustainable agricultural techniques, quality and processing, and are even provided with microfinance loans to buy seeds. Mzuzu also owns a coffee shop, Coffee Den, which provides an internet service and sells coffee and souvenirs, and Coffee Suites, a guest house in town which brings a lot of business to the area.

Unlike any other cooperative in the area, Mzuzu also runs a “Women in Coffee” programme, implemented to empower women farmers and increase their personal income by selling coffee grown by women to buyers all over the world. As a result, there are over 650 female farmers across the six cooperatives! This is drastically more than regular plantations in the area, who aren’t part of the Union.

It is at this point in our journey that we head to the hills of Malawi’s Rumphi district, to meet Martha Mhango. Martha started out as a coffee farmer in Phoka Coffee Cooperative, one of the Union’s six cooperatives, and since 2016 has been the elected Chairperson of Nkhonthwa zone. 

coffee-quote-1Martha is a huge advocate for the Union’s “Women in Coffee” programme, as she has been able to provide for her family in a similar way that a man in her community can. 

The fair trade premium that women like Martha receive is split into two. Half goes to the ‘zone’ for community development, for the likes of coffee washing stations, bridges and teachers’ houses, and the other half goes directly to the farmer herself.

coffee-quote-2

Another great thing about the Mzuzu’s is that the waste biproducts from the coffee production comes back to the farmers to use as a fertiliser, minimising waste and helping increase yields in following years. 

With the help of the Union, Martha’s farm’s vision for the future is to have solar energy and water in their primary school, and to develop netball and football facilities.

If you’re inspired by Martha’s story and would like the opportunity to meet farmers just like her, and hear their stories for yourself, why not secure your place on our Meet the People tour in Malawi? Alternatively, you can get involved with people like Martha from the comfort of your own front room, by choosing Traidcraft’s Fairtrade coffee, cultivated by farmers who are treated with respect and paid fairly, throughout the developing world.

Win a Meet the People Tour with The Traidcraft Exchange Raffle

Traidcraft Exchange’s second Raffle has some top class prizes for you!

The raffle is running until the end of April 2020, so whether you’re buying tickets for yourself, selling them to friends and family or at an event over the next few months, we hope you get involved. You could sell raffle tickets at your Big Brew celebration during Fairtrade Fortnight, at any events you’re holding over Easter or at school, work or amongst your friends and family.

To order raffle ticket books, please click here or get in touch via email or on the phone on 0191 497 6445.

To buy virtual raffle tickets, click here.

1st Prize: A trip to India with Meet The People tours

MTP+logoMeet The People Tours offer small groups of people an opportunity to gain an authentic insight into a country’s people and culture, visiting fair trade producers and development projects far removed from any tourist trail. You’ll experience life in local communities and enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of a country’s natural wonders and cultural heritage.
Find out more at www.meetthepeopletours.co.uk

2nd Prize: A two night stay in the Lake District at Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa

low-wood-bay-resort-spa Located in the heart of the Lake District National Park UNESCO World Heritage Site, Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa has one of the most enviable locations in the world. The view from the resort over England’s longest lake, fells and mountains is truly breath-taking.
Find out more at www.englishlakes.co.uk

 

3rd Prize: Apple iPad

dhe-haivan-cbfeTesD7wo-unsplash2019 Apple iPad Air 10.5”, A12 Bionic, iOS, Wi-Fi, 64GB, Space Grey

And also…

4 Fair Trade Hampers from our friends at Traidcraft PLC.

Raffle closing date: 21st April 2020
Draw will take place: 30th April 2020

Traidcraft Exchange

By taking part in Traidcraft Exchange’s raffle you’re helping challenge the injustices we see in world trade right now. You’re helping people like Mathew, a banana and livestock farmer in Tanzania, to earn more money from the hard work he does every day so he can improve the quality of his family’s life and ensure that his baby son, Gracious, has a future full of hope. To find out more about Mathew and the project he’s involved in go to: https://traidcraftexchange.org/christmas.

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Terms and conditions – For full terms and conditions go to
www.traidcraftexchange.org/raffletandc

Prize details:
1st prize: choose either a tour for 2 people (non-flight inclusive) or a tour for 1 person PLUS return economy flights from the UK on the recommended flights for the tour. Subject to availability and the tour reaching minimum numbers.  Your tour must be taken by 30th April 2021.
2nd prize: 2 nights Bed & Breakfast at Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa, dinner on one night and a bottle of fizz in your room on arrival. Subject to availability. Does not include stays over bank holidays or Christmas/New Year.

Christmas Appeal from Traidcraft Exchange

This Christmas and beyond, Traidcraft Exchange will be raising funds to help the most vulnerable producer groups affected by changes at Traidcraft plc.

You may have heard recently that Traidcraft plc has been forced to downsize and look to a new future or face closure due to falling sales and the reduction in value of the pound. The choice to restructure was unfortunately simple – reform and support some producer groups or close and support none. There will also be a direct impact on the income Traidcraft Exchange, their sister charity, gets from customers choosing to round up their orders.

Those travelling on Meet the People Tours are part of a very privileged group of people who have seen first hand the impact that both Traidcraft plc and Traidcraft Exchange has had on lives of thousands of people across the developing world. We’ve met the people whose lives have been changed for the better through trade.

It’s these people whose livelihoods are now at risk. Traidcraft will no longer able to buy and sell their products, and producers across the world, from GPI in Nepal to Noah’s Ark in India, will need to find new sources of income.

These producer groups do incredible work and we are continuing to run the Meet the People Tours so you can visit them, see their work, share in their successes, and understand their challenges.

Traidcraft Exchange is also working closely with Traidcraft plc and looking to support as many of these groups as possible alongside continuing their vital existing work with over 300,000 people living in poverty across the world.

BANGLADESHHere’s a message from Traidcraft Exchange:
“The tailored support programmes we offer will differ from group to group, but we are well placed to use our expertise and years of working closely with Traidcraft to help producers find new markets, develop new products, and make sure their incomes remain secure.

However, to do this, we urgently need to raise the money that would allow us to carry out work beyond our existing commitment to the 300,000 people we work alongside each year. This Christmas, we are running an appeal asking Traidcraft supporters to pledge additional resources to help us take on work helping these vulnerable producer groups.

It is vital that people like you pledge your support for the producers affected by this news. You can support the appeal by donating here 

If you’d like to be kept informed about the impact of Traidcraft’s news on producers, and the work that Traidcraft Exchange hopes to do to help them at this time of great difficulty, please do email hello@traidcraft.org to ensure you receive updates and information.

We’d love to hear from you, and learn about your experiences meeting producers across the world. You can also call us on 0191 497 6445, or write to us at Traidcraft Exchange, Kingsway North, Team Valley, NE11 0NE.”