Ethical food company secures £70,000 funding

JTS launched a retail version of its rice product, farmed in Malawi
JTS launched a retail version of its rice product, farmed in Malawi
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A Paisley firm is launching a retail version of its ethical rice product, which provides income to farmers in Africa, on the back of securing £70,000 investment from Social Investment Scotland (SIS).

Just Trading Scotland (JTS) said it hoped to see the start of “a rice revolution right here in Scotland” and is tapping into growing consumer demand for ethical foods with its Kilombero product, which is to be sold in delis and speciality shops as well as larger mainstream retailers. It was previously available in wholesale volumes.

The firm pointed out that its rice is farmed across Malawi, where about 85 per cent of the population live in rural areas. It plans to grow sales across its full product range after securing the investment.

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JTS chairman John Riches said that like many social enterprises it has found it hard to secure investment from traditional lenders, so the support from SIS “has been so important”.

He added: “Kilombero offers consumers a whole new way of buying and eating rice. We know that Scots want more opportunities to buy ethically sourced, fairly traded premium products.

“By purchasing Kilombero, we can all make a huge difference by helping to unlock the potential of people and communities and tackle inequality in Malawi and elsewhere. Many retailers, both large and small, have already expressed interest and we’re confident that we can convert that interest into sales. Hopefully, together, we can all start a rice revolution right here in Scotland.”