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Teaching Resources

tea factfile

Commodity Tea
Country Sri Lanka is a South Asian country with a population of 22,2 million. Fairtrade commodities originating there include tea, oils, herbs, spices and flowers.
Background information Tea is produced on large plantations or estates and picked by employed workers. It is also grown on small plots of land by small-scale farmers who sell their freshly-plucked green leaf to plantations or tea factories for processing into black tea.


Social issues Tea farmers face the challenge of low and fluctuating prices for the green leaf they sell, and a lack of power in a tea supply chain dominated by large companies.


On tea estates, the challenges for workers vary. Workers may face low wages, long working hours and a difficult relationship with estate management.


Environmental issues To make room for tea plantations, forests are often cleared, which can have several environmental impacts. Deforestation can lead to habitat loss for wildlife, soil erosion, and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.


Tea plants require specific soil conditions for optimal growth. As a result, tea plantations often practice monoculture, which can lead to soil erosion.


Tea plants are often treated with pesticides and this can have negative environmental impacts such as water pollution, soil contamination, and loss of biodiversity.


Why is Fairtrade important?


When you buy Fairtrade tea, farmers and workers can bring greater security, equality and opportunity to the lives of their families and communities.


Through Fairtrade, they can improve their working conditions. They can make sure their children are fed and can go to school. Communities can invest in clean water and clinics.


Where to buy Fairtrade tea Cafédirect, Clipper, Co-op, Greggs, Hampstead Tea, John Lewis cafes, Lemonaid, Lidl, M&S, National Trust, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose amongst others.


Join us on Twitter at  @FairtradeUKEd