Youth Work and Community Development
The advantages and disadvantages
Of tea production in Kenya, Malawi and Uganda
In relation to fair-trade
Word Count (excluding direct quotes and bibliography) – 2497
In this essay I will begin by explaining a brief history of fair trade and the labelling scheme. I will then go on to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of fair trade tea production in 3 African countries. These will include Kenya, Malawi and Uganda. I am discussing the issues in these 3 countries under 3 separate headings. I will give a brief introduction to each countries population and their tea production. I will then be focusing on what positive and negative issues they may have regarding tea production in relation to fair trade. I will conclude by discussing ways in which we can give these African countries more support through consuming fair-trade products and also what challenges they may face.
Fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to producers as well as social and environmental standards. It focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries, most notably handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, bananas, Cotton, wine, fresh fruit, chocolate and gold.
The concept of ‘fair trade’ has been around for over 40 years according to fine but a formal labelling scheme that didn’t get off the ground until the late 1980s and early 90’s. From then on the fair trade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) was established in Bonn, Germany to unite the labelling initiatives under one umbrella and establish worldwide standards and certification and by 2007 the FLO had launched a new International fair trade Certification Mark. FLO split into two independent organizations: FLO International, which sets fair trade standards and provides producer business support, and FLO-CERT, which inspects and certifies producer organizations and audits traders.
(Fair- trade Foundation 2010)
Tea is globally one of the most popular and lowest cost beverages, next only to water and is consumed by a wide range of age groups in all levels of society. More than three billion cups of tea are consumed daily worldwide. (Tea producing countries 2005)
Most people may not realize that tea is often grown on plantations in developing world countries in Africa where the crops are sprayed with many chemicals and pesticides. The workers who pick the leaves are not only exposed to this danger; they are often paid a fractional minimal wage as well. ‘Consumers usually decide to buy fair trade blends because production is carried out using sustainable farming practices, specifically not allowing deforestation to occur as part of plantation farming techniques. Some producers go down the fair trade route, which gives the consumer further altruistic benefit in terms of assurance that the workers on the tea plantations have been working under improved terms and conditions, giving them a better quality of life and reducing exploitation’. (International Fair Trade Association 2005)
Fair trade certified tea is sourced from tea estates and democratic small-farmer organisations under terms of trade which include: ▪ Fair wages and working conditions for employees;
▪ Payment of a negotiated fair price to producers (estates and smallholder organisations); ▪ An additional premium for investing in social, economic or environmental programmes.
Kenya has a population of 35.6 million of which 40% live on $2 per day. Tea is presently Kenya’s leading export earner, accounting for nearly 20% of total export earnings. Café Direct, a UK-based Fair- trade company, buys most of its teas from east Africa and sells under the Tea Direct label. The minimum price it pays...