Roughly a 2 minute read
Good food for farmers
Many families in tea communities have little available land to produce food or keep livestock for their own needs and so completely rely on income from their produce to buy food from elsewhere.
Poor diets are the leading cause of global ill health and a driver of poor nutrition. Tea workers and farmers often suffer from high under-nutrition rates because their diets, which consist largely of staple foods such as rice, bread, maize and wheat, are often not varied and balanced, lacking foods rich in essential nutrients and vitamins needed for good health.
To help tackle these issues, we contribute to community projects that try to improve access to good food. Much of our work is done with our suppliers, who can help us deliver the right projects to the people who need it most. But we also work on programmes with our partners in the industry to try and make bigger changes.
Healthy Diets for Tea Communities is one such programme – led by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition(GAIN) and the Ethical Tea Partnership – it aims to improve the diets of tea workers, farmers and their families in Assam, Kenya and Malawi.
The programme is tailoring its approach for each community. It will increase food knowledge and choices through training, street theatre and cooking demonstrations. And it will increase access to the right kinds of food, working with families to plant vegetable gardens and fruit trees and helping to provide fortified lunches at work. It will also work closely with businesses and governments to promote the importance of investing in workforce nutrition.
The programme aims to reach 877,000 people between 2020 and 2023: 175,500 farmers and workers directly, and 702,000 people indirectly, as farmers and workers share their knowledge with their households.
Working more directly with suppliers, we’ve supported a porridge initiative run by the Sorwathe tea factory in Rwanda since 2015. This initiative aims to supply a cup of nutritious porridge for every child that attends any of the factory’s many pre-schools. It’s designed to help families that can’t provide a healthy breakfast at home and really helps some 900 children get the most out of their day.
The porridge initiative employs local women to make and deliver the porridge, which helps to support the local community and improve lives for non-working residents on the estate.
We’ve also been working with our suppliers in Rwanda to provide cows for families that live near the Mulindi and Shagasha tea factories. One cow can make a big difference to a family in rural Rwanda. The milk it provides is an essential part of children’s diets and any excess milk can be sold to provide a stable source of income. It also helps to improve the land for growing other crops – adding nutrients to the soil with manure.
And through our tree planting work in Kenya farmers are now planting mango, avocado and macadamia trees along with their tea — food crops that can be added to their diet or sold at market.
Last updated 30th September 2021