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Sustainability issues in the tea sector : a comparative analysis of six leading producing countries


Document type: report
Download file(s): 128646 (1353 KB)
Abstract: In this report, SOMO is presenting for the first time ever a more detailed and comparative analysis on social, economic and ecological conditions in the tea sector in 6 of the most important tea-producing countries: India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Indonesia, Kenya and Malawi. The research is based on an extensive field study of civil society organisations in these countries, thus providing a unique perspective on this sector. The report also presents an overview of trade, production and stakeholders in international tea supply chains, and makes recommendations to various stakeholders for improving conditions, particularly for plantation workers and tea smallholders the most vulnerable in the tea industry. The study found that working conditions for pickers are often poor, with low wages, low job and income security, discrimination along ethnic and gender lines, lack of protective gear and inadequate basic facilities such as housing and sometimes even drinking water and food. At the same time there is no possibility for tea plantation workers to improve working conditions because trade unions are ineffective or absent and/or are not representing them because most of them are temporary workers. While tea production by smallholders is growing worldwide, their situation is often problematic because the prices they are paid for fresh tea leaves tend to be below the cost of production, among other factors. The sector’s environmental footprint is considerable, with reduced biodiversity as the result of habitat conversion, high energy consumption (mainly using logged timber) and a high application of pesticides in some countries.
Authors: Wal, S. van der
Country: India , Viet Nam , Indonesia , Kenya , Malawi
Category: Research
Editor: Turner, J.
ISBN: 978-90-71284-23-6
Keywords: economic development , social development , environment , agriculture
Language: eng
Organization: SOMO - Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations
PAGE: 108
Place: Amsterdam
Publisher: SOMO
Year: 2008
Region: South Asia , Southeast Asia , East Africa
Right: © 2008 SOMO This document is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivateWorks 2.5 License
Subject: Economic Development and Trade
Title: Sustainability issues in the tea sector : a comparative analysis of six leading producing countries