150 farmers, 5 field schools, 12 months training.
3 years ago, I tried my first cup of black tea from Mount Kenya, now known as our ‘African Breakfast’ tea. I knew right then that we’d stumbled upon something special, and I also knew that the price this tea was receiving at the tea auction was way too low.
Through direct trade we can make sure that tea producers are receiving a higher margin , but it only felt like a first step towards a better livelihood for farmers. As a single small company we can’t (yet) influence the green leaf price farmers receive for their plucked leaves. That requires a complete overhaul of the structures of the current tea commodity trade. (see here for more details)
And then we heard about Farmer Field Schools.. While we might not be able to influence the green leaf price right now, we CAN help farmers plant smarter and reach higher productivity, resulting in more income, too.
3 years ago we made a promise to the Mount Kenya farmers.
Today is the day we’re kicking off 5 farmer field schools, financing a total of 150 farmers in Kenya. 70% of those farmers are women.
Attending a class ourselves today in one of Kangaita’s tea collection centers, I was truly blown away by the farmer’s passion to learn and make something better of their lives. Farmers really want to work hard and smart, but are often trapped in a lack of knowledge and resources.
For the next 12 months, the classes will cover a diverse range of topics they choose themselves, from natural fertilizer use to home gardening and livestock keeping.
Why this approach works?
After each class, farmers go home with a concrete assignment, a bunch of practical tools, and an action plan in place to help themselves lead better lives.
Knowledge is power, and I feel truly honored to be part of their journey. We want to thank all of you awesome franksters for continuing to buy our tea, and making those Farmer Field Schools possible.
Keep drinking :)
ps. Did you know that 2% of our revenues are invested in farmer trainings yearly, whether we make a profit or not?