Assam, known for its lush tea gardens, has a rich history of tea production. The state has about 1.22 lakh registered small tea growers who account for 52% of the total tea production in the state. However, small tea growers in the region have long faced numerous challenges, including limited access to resources and markets.
In recent years, Assam’s small tea growers are spearheading a remarkable transformation in the tea landscape with the support of Solidaridad’s Trinitea programme. This programme, initiated by Solidaridad a global development organization in collaboration with ITA, has been instrumental in empowering small tea growers in Assam by providing them with traceability systems, technical expertise, and enhanced market opportunities.
The collective efforts between Solidaridad and the small tea growers are revolutionizing the industry, creating sustainable practices, and uplifting the lives of growers, said a statement.
The small tea growers in Assam have traditionally encountered significant hurdles, including limited access to resources, lack of infrastructure, and issues related to traceability. Moreover, middlemen often exploited the growers, leaving them with low returns for their efforts. These challenges posed a threat to the sustainability of the tea industry and the livelihoods of small growers. In response to these challenges, Trinitea emerged as a game-changer for Assam’s small tea growers.
The programme has been pivotal in providing small tea growers with traceability systems, ensuring transparency and accountability in the supply chain. By implementing these systems, the program enables tea growers to track their teas from the plantation to the consumer, ensuring that the teas are ethically produced, sustainable, and of the highest quality.
Md Amin, president of the Small Tea Growers Association, Tinsukia district, expressed his appreciation, stating: “The traceability systems provided by the Trinitea Program have empowered us to showcase the integrity of our teas. We can now assure buyers and consumers that our teas are produced sustainably, with utmost care for the environment and workers’ welfare.”
Talking about the crucial thoughts behind the initiative, Shatadru Chattopadhayay, managing director, Solidaridad Asia, stated: “It is an effort between Solidaridad Asia and the Indian Tea Association (ITA) to promote sustainability, inclusivity, and fairer trade in the Indian tea sector. With the Trinitea programme, we hope to help farmers adopt good agricultural, social, and environmental practices that will enable them to supply high-quality green leaves to tea factories to produce higher-quality teas that will fetch competitive remuneration for Small Tea Growers in the market, while also ensuring greater inclusivity and transparency from farm to cup.”
“Over 1,00,000 small tea farmers across Assam, North Bengal, and, south India are currently part of the programme. Trinitea aims to improve by creating opportunities for industry players in farming and labour practices, green leaf quality, environmental impact, market access, and traceability,” he added.
In addition to traceability, the programme provides technical expertise and training to small tea growers. Through capacity-building workshops, training and knowledge-sharing sessions, the programme equips growers with the necessary skills and knowledge to adopt sustainable farming practices. It also focused on creating enhanced market opportunities for small tea growers. By establishing direct market linkages and providing market intelligence, enabling growers to connect with buyers who value transparency and sustainability. Through targeted branding, packaging, and marketing support, it assists growers in capturing higher-value markets.