Publications Tea & Coffee
In response to growing concerns voiced by civil society organisations regarding the precarious working conditions of the millions of tea workers worldwide, multinational tea packers, such as Unilever, who dominates this sector, are increasingly relying on sustainability standard systems, such as Rainforest Alliance, Utz Certified and Fairtrade, which are generally seen as best industry practice. This study wanted to find out whether working conditions on large tea estates that have achieved RA certification and supply Unilever are truly decent. To this end one hundred tea workers were interviewed on a total of eight tea plantation companies, all supplying tea to Unilever. Seven of these plantations are located in India and the remaining plantation concerns Unilevers own tea plantation in Kenya.
China is the cradle of tea and remains the largest tea producer in the world. China comes only after Kenya and Sri Lanka in tea export, ranking third in the world. China also has the largest tea grower population in the world, with about 80 million people working on tea farms. China provides more than one million tons of tea for both foreign and domestic markets each year.
Tea is the second most popular drink in the world, after water. For a number of developing countries it is an important commodity in terms of jobs and export earnings. Tea production is labour intensive and the industry provides jobs in remote rural areas. Millions of livelihoods around the world depend on tea picking and processing.
This is a report on research undertaken on the tea sector in Kenya targeting the small-scale tea farmers who contribute over 60% of tea production in Kenya. The research was carried out from April to July 2007 and embraced key stakeholders in the Supply Chain and Value Addition process in both the local and the export market.
This report is the outcome of a research commissioned by Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) a Dutch non profit research and advisory bureau and conducted by Malawi Centre for Advice, Research and Education on Rights (Malawi CARER). It covers tea research findings in Malawi on social, economic, environmental and labour issues. Desk and primary data forms the basis of the report. The report aims at informing the world of issues and development related to growing tea in Malawi. It can also form the basis for advocacy and lobbying initiatives in tea sector in Malawi.