Oct 16th, '10, 20:22
Posts: 99
Joined: Oct 14th, '10

Can organic & Fair Trade tea be grown in China & Kenya?

by mbanu » Oct 16th, '10, 20:22

It seems like organic & Fair Trade tea are more easy to produce in countries that follow the "plantation" model of production (India, Sri Lanka, etc.), because it is easier to monitor the crops and the workers.

China and Kenya seem to both follow the "small holder" model, where a bunch of small farmers produce tea that are then pooled at the factory. This seems like a bit of a regulatory nightmare when it comes to getting proper certification.

On the one hand, in Kenya at least, there is a push towards consolidation of tea production (http://www.emoinvestments.com/News_inner.php?id=21), however, there has also been a counter-trend in the past towards more small-holder work, as tea from small-holders is usually less expensive to produce (because of the ability to side-step expensive environmental and labor mandates).

In China there are a few people trying to produce Fair Trade tea under the small holder system (Yi Select under Wang Geda, Dazhangshan Organic Tea Farmer Association, etc.) Do you think this will continue.