Programmes  I  Tea

Prakruthi is providing training to more than 2.000 small-scale tea growers on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and certification standards in South India. The WAM Tea Company in Wayanad -a cooperative and Bought Leaf Factory owned by 500 small tea farmers- has become the first UTZ Certified tea company in the world. Prakruthi cooperates with other stakeholders to scale-up its training activities. Meanwhile, it supports private companies to improve their standards up to international accepted levels of sustainability.

 
Tea market

Major changes are taking place in the tea market. Many multinational brands now publicly declare their commitment to make the tea sector more sustainable, and to improve labour and environmental standards in the supply chain. Going by the announcements of the major players, Unilever, Tata and Twinnings the growth potential for sustainable produced tea is huge, from less than 10% in 2010 up to 75% of total world production in 2020.

 
Smallholders

However, to be able to source a growing share of sustainable produced tea, a vast majority of smallholder tea farmers have to be trained to improve and protect the economic, social and environmental conditions at the beginning of the tea chain. While large tea plantations might be able to adapt to the new requirements, smallholder farmers will face more difficulties to secure quality production and volume in a sustainable manner. Since 30% of India’s tea production is from small tea farmers, a very large number of people, depends on tea leaf production as a means of their livelihood, many being women. This livelihood option is already under threat due to poor prices for the tea leaves.

 
Challenges

In nutshell the Indian tea sector is facing the following crucial challenges related to unsustainable production;

  • Low level of farmer organisation
  • Lack of market information, market access & (technical) training
  • Low representation of workers
  • Low productivity and low prices versus high production costs due to poor farm practices and market access
  • Soil erosion, low soil fertility
  • Excessive agrochemical usage
  • Air pollution and energy inefficiency in processing tea

 

 


 
 
 
 
Bhagawanth Rao, 14, whose parents Soyam
Lachu and Lachu Bai cultivate about 20 acres of
dry land in Adilabad District,
 
   
 
 
 
 
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