Tea estates see new opportunities with Utz

Tea farmers in Malawi face many challenges that prevent them from reaching their full potential. Through certification, they can improve their farming methods and produce more sustainable. Solidaridad assists them to get Utz Certified.

Targetz

To improve the income of the smallholder tea farmers by increasing productivity, efficiency and tea quality through Utz certification.

Reason

Tea is the second highest foreign exchange earner for Malawi. But the value of tea is low due to challenges, such as irrigation problems in the dry season, depletion of natural resources, and a degradation of tea quality. Smallholder tea farmers are not well organised and face many bottlenecks in the production of tea. Through certification, they can improve their farming techniques and contribute significantly to their income and the national tea production.

Activities

  • Undertaking gap analysis to compare actual situation to the requirements of the Utz Tea Codes.
  • Setting action plans to bridge the gaps and implement them.
  • Review and self inspection of compliance.
  • Facilitating smallholder farmers to organise in groups and train them in the requirements of the Utz Tea Code.
  • Training estate personnel on the requirements of Utz tea code and internal auditing.
  • Setting and implementing Internal Control Systems for the smallholder farmer groups.
  • External audit and certification by a Certifying Body (CB).

Results

  • 6 tea estates with total of 3,467Ha certified with Utz Tea Code of Conduct for Tea Farms.
  • Three factories producing over 9.000.000 Kgs of tea certified with the Utz Tea Code of Conduct for Tea Factories.
  • 41 middle managers from the estates trained on the Utz Tea Codes and internal auditing.
  • Sensitization of the project undertaken on all the 10.000 smallholder farmers and mode of implementation agreed on with the leaders.
  • First consignment of Utz Certified 'Good Inside' tea shipped from the three certified factories.
  • Certified producers now formally addressing social and environment issues in the farming systems. E.g. they have planted natural trees on land without tea and have improved on solid waste management.
  • 6 tea factories and 20 tea estates now implementing the Utz Tea Codes. Project has started with smallholder farmers and is progressing well.

Facts

Location: Mulanje District and Thyolo district, Malawi.
Target groups: Eastern Produce Malawi; Esperanza, Glenorchy, Lauderdale and Likanga Tea Estates. Esperanza and Lauderdale Tea Factories. Nchima Tea Estate and factory, Satemwa Tea Estate and Factory
Smallholder Groups; Sukhambizi Association Trust (6,000 members) and Eastern Outgrowers Trust (3,500 members) and Nsuwadzi Smallholders Association (500 members).

Donor / project partner: DE Foundation is the main funder of this multi-annual project

Recommendations

David Saywood, General Manager at Nchima Estates: 'Utz has reinforced an understanding between the company, the staff and the community that we need to build a sustainable future. I am impressed with the progressive nature of the Utz process and certainly look forward to participating in the future.'

Rob Emmott, General Manager of Satemwa Tea Estates: 'We have chosen to join the Utz programme because it presents a new opportunity to market our products and to get recognition for the good practice that we are doing. The process of introducing Utz to Satemwa has been very well structured. Assistance with funding to bridge some of the gaps is also a refreshing approach.'

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