Tea is the most consumed drink worldwide, next to water, but most tea farmers only receive 3% of the retail price. Um, something isn't quite right here.
FairChain is a movement that strives for a fair distribution of value among ALL stakeholders in the production chain, i.e. farmer, processing, packaging, retailer. For many products such as tea, the exporting country or farmer receives a disproportionate percentage of the sales price relative to the seller/retailer. Not so frank!
The tea chain from pick to cup has many steps, with most of the profit, besides the retailers, being made by the tea 'packers' who mix the bulk tea in the West with other teas, herbs and aromas, and then package the tea in, among other things, tea bags. tea bags. This mainly happens in Germany and England. But that is not necessary, because the tea can also simply be mixed and packaged in the country of origin!
By purchasing directly, and producing and packaging in the country of origin, 600-800% more value remains in the country of origin, we know exactly where the tea comes from, and the tea is many times more fresh. pretty cool!
But let's not forget the importance of quality! Without a quality revolution, no tea revolution at all.
That is why we only supply 'orthodox' tea, a production method in which the tea leaves are not cut, but rolled. As a result, more flavor remains in the tea, and no artificial flavors need to be added. Better quality gives the tea producers the opportunity to ask a higher price, and to distinguish with the mass-produced cut tea (powder) that is marketed through the tea auction at a very low price, often even below cost price.
We need to get out of that downward spiral, and that starts with better quality!
Let's be frank. Because the kg price of the tea leaves, also called 'green leaf price', which the farmer receives from the tea factory, is influenced by the price at the tea auction, which in turn is influenced by the price that the handful of large tea buyers are willing to pay. pay, (and yes, unfortunately that is not much), we as small buyers are not yet able to influence this green leaf price in East Africa. †
In order to ensure that the farmers can sell more tea leaves to the factory, we invest in farmer training whereby the farmers learn methods to increase the production of their tea plants, and to subsidize their income in other ways. Farmers who follow the training increase their productivity by up to 35%, along with improvements in livelihood and health. No, it's not the ultimate solution, but it's a nice start in the value shift.
What's next? Having your own production and/or packaging facility in East Africa would be a way to finally determine the 'green leaf price' yourself and break out of the poverty cycle. Not an easy game. We will keep you informed!
*In our collaboration in Sri Lanka, we do not work with smallholder farmers as in Kenya, but the tea producer employs tea pickers. Regardless of the number of kg of tea they pick, these receive a minimum salary, and have the opportunity to living wage earn if they work full time. A beautiful model that we are proud of, but unfortunately not the standard in the tea industry..
Curious about what you can do to help our tea pickers improve their income? Help us sell more tea. Simply by spoiling yourself with the best tea in the Netherlands or by giving Frank about tea as a gift to a friend.