About Make It Better

How to make a better cup of tea
20 January 2014

We drink 165 million cups of tea a day in the UK. But like many of the products we love, the way that tea is produced can be harmful to people and the environment.

As part of our Make It Better campaign for products that don't cost the Earth, we've teamed up with fair trade pioneer Traidcraft. For more than 35 years, it's been selling tea sourced from small-scale farmers across the developing world and ensuring they get a fair price for their goods.

Make It Better: How to make a better cup of tea

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Esther Ravi grows tea in Kenya. She is one of 600,000 smallholder tea growers in Kenya, Bangladesh and India, where almost 15 million people are dependent on the tea sector.

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"We pick tea before 7am to take it to the collection centre fresh, so it can be dried in the factory without losing its quality," says Kenyan tea farmer Patricia Mutangili. Picking leaves takes place daily, on a rolling programme to allow bushes to develop the two leaves and a bud required for the best quality tea.

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Thunguri Primary School grows tea on some of its land to help fund school activities. Headteacher Peter Mwaniki Njali explains: "Tea is the backbone of this area. The money helps us in maintaining the school, buying presents for the pupils and exam papers."

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Tea is part of everyday life for farmers in the tea-growing region of Iriaini in Kenya. It's often served with cold, boiled sweet potatoes and arrowroot to eat.

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Smallholder farmers at Iriaini Tea Factory in Kenya are learning beekeeping. They used to rely solely on tea grown on small plots, but with limited space and some ground unsuitable for cultivation, many struggled to earn a living. They are also planting passion fruit, providing extra income for them and nectar for the bees.

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For Tanzanian tea picker Adriano Kalili, the fair wage he receives means he has been able to build a three-bedroom house for his wife, Alizeta, and their three children. The Fairtrade premium has helped to provide the roof.

 

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© Traidcraft