Trinitea empowers smallholder tea growers of India

The launch of Trinitea on 4 April marks a significant milestone in the evolution of the Indian smallholder tea sector. Jointly developed by Solidaridad and the Indian Tea Association, Trinitea will make use of the first-of-its-kind digital self-assessment application to ensure small-scale growers are internationally and nationally compliant by improving the quality of tea production and pricing.

West Bengal alone has around 30,000 registered small tea growers. Working for the development of such a huge number of small tea growers with a global organization like Solidaridad that has sustainable solutions in mind and scalability as an objective can lead to a major enhancement in the livelihoods of [hundred thousands] of people dependent on this sector. – Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamta Banerjee

Full-service support for small-scale farmers

Solidaridad Asia in collaboration with Indian Tea Association (ITA), the premier and the oldest organization of tea producers in India, launched Trinitea for the smallholder tea growers of India. Trinitea seeks to provide year-round on-ground training to improve the agronomical, social and environmental practices of the smallholders.

Solidaridad and ITA will implement Trinitea’s digital self-assessment application marking a new chapter in the history of the industry. Solidaridad has developed the Android-based digital tool for the farmers in the local language so they can participate in virtual trainings.

With its international presence and expertise, Solidaridad will also render its support for promoting high quality and safe tea production by smallholders in domestic and international markets. ITA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the major Small Tea Growers Associations in Assam and West Bengal. The United Planters Association of Southern India (UPASI) and Solidaridad have already signed an MoU to work towards the sustainability goals in southern India. UPASI has agreed to support the extension of this programme in the southern tea industry as well.

First steps for Trinitea

ITA and Solidaridad Asia set internal goals to accomplish in the next three years. Further development of the smart self-assessment system for small tea growers will help them improve production practices and also assist them in making an informed decision with a view to improving their overall operational efficiency.

  1. Offer free, year-round training sessions with industry thought leaders and experts to reduce crop losses and improve quality
  2. Help smallholders adapt to climate change
  3. Monitor the quality of green leaf
  4. Establish a traceability mechanism to enable continuous monitoring of sources of supply
  5. Coordinate financial support for smallholders from the Tea Board, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) and the state government
  6. Facilitate improved market access in a transparent manner
  7. Encourage sustainability initiatives by forming self-help groups and associations
  8. Establish a quality brand identity for smallholders and their products nationally and globally using the new Trinitea brand

Cooperation in the international tea trade

The cost competitiveness of small tea growers’ produce has the potential to make Indian teas attractive to the global market and boost its exports in the long run. This is aligned with the recent agri-export policy declared by the government of India. Forging a partnership between the large traditional sector and the small tea-growing community would mutually benefit both sectors.

Due to the expanding base of the smallholder sector, sustained efforts are required both in terms of capital and time to align and integrate with the mainstream industry. ITA and Solidaridad are committed to making a significant contribution in this regard. Smallholders are likely to benefit from this in terms of prices due to better market access.

The tea industry in India is a very important and old industry which has a very unique way of linking with the plantation, manufacturing, services, exports and domestic market. All the key components of economic activities are linked to this industry. We are fully committed to making the Indian tea industry a growing and world-class industry, which will occupy a key position in the world community and look forward to working with all of you. – Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu

  Learn more about sustainability for tea