Malawi: Tea 2020
Building up a competitive tea industry
Although Malawi is one of our most important tea-growing areas for black and green tea, it is not likely the first country that comes to mind when one thinks about tea. That is precisely what we are changing: we impart knowledge on-site about all aspects of successful cultivation and advocate for living wages. In doing so, we want to help build up a competitive tea industry that provides long-term income opportunities for the local people.
For living wages
Established together with the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), our project in Malawi is directed at plantation workers and self-employed small farmers. In this Southeast African country, living wages have yet to be established, but we are working towards achieving this. Therefore, we pay a voluntary premium on the raw ingredients we buy from there so that the people working in cultivation receive a fair wage.
Sustainable knowledge for small farmers
Thus far, the project has established 200 Farm Field Schools to provide people with the knowledge necessary to grow tea and other crops successfully long-term. More than 6,000 small farmers have graduated from these schools, and the knowledge acquired is paying off: 10 per cent more Malawian tea was sold in 2020 than in the previous year. In addition, we have set up savings plans with nearly 5,000 farmers – more than three-quarters of whom are women. They receive access to small loans that boost their economic freedom and, as a result, their self-confidence.
Helping people help themselves, also in Rwanda
In Rwanda, 47 Farmer Field Schools have also passed on valuable knowledge to nearly 1,500 farmers, a third of whom are female. Ninety-two per cent of the youngest graduates were able to increase their profit over the previous year. By 2022, we want to help an additional 4,500 people improve their income.