Joyce Juma-Phiri, CEO, Fair Trade Scotland

I am the daughter of Malawian farmers and was involved in my family’s farming business from a young age. Aged 16, I represented my father at the then African Businessmen Association meeting – the only young female to do so. In the meeting I asked a question about supporting young girls and why farmers in general are not supported. From that time, I became a great advocate of smallholder farmers, especially women and girls.

Currently, my role is to advocate for value-added Buy Malawi Products to feature in the Scottish market, reflecting the partnership Malawi has with Scotland. In 2020 a chance meeting led me to find out about Fair Trade Scotland. I listened to Eve Broadis speak about the organisation’s World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) membership, as the only importer member in Scotland since 2006, and the long struggle to get recognition of Malawian products, in a Fair Trade Nation.

Eve explained about meeting Bernard, at the SECC, when the Scottish Government, under Lord Jack McConnell, brought producers over from Malawi to celebrate the start of the Scotland Malawi Partnership. Further talks were had and when we realised we had both been present at the SECC event, and that over the years our paths had crossed many times without realising it, I felt passionately that I would like to join Fair Trade Scotland.  As a WFTO Fair Trade importer, Fair Trade Scotland, was proud to have me join the Board of Directors, as CEO and to work directly with Malawian producers and farmers to bring their products to the UK market.

WFTO guaranteed trademarkThe WFTO has been at the heart of the Fair Trade movement, as a community of Fair Trade pioneers, advocates and enterprises, who have embraced the mission of Fair Trade in everything they do. As Olivier De Schutter, the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food put it: “The Fair Trade movement has set a model that others should seek inspiration from”. The WFTO has a clear policy and plan to promote gender equality, that ensures that women as well as men have opportunities to gain access to the resources that they need to be productive. Also, the ability to influence the wider policy, regulatory, and institutional environment that shapes their livelihoods and lives.

Fair Trade Scotland Ltd was set up in 2006 as a Company Limited by Guarantee, having no shareholders and no charitable status, to enable us to add value at the start of the supply chain. Too many actors in supply chains means that bottom line pricing is always the priority, and the producer has no say in the final selling price.

As a WFTO Guaranteed Fair Trade importer we act as the watchdog in the supply chain ensuring a fair price to the producer and the consumer for the products, through a genuine long term trading relationship based on the WFTO’s 10 Principles of Fair Trade. As you cannot monetise social value, the WFTO Guarantee System and Product Label is the guarantee to the consumer that their purchase really does support sustainable economic development through Fair Trade – especially SDG12 Responsible Consumption and Production.