27TH MAY, 2020

International Tea Day 2020

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The first United Nations International Tea Day comes amidst a backdrop of COVID-19, which has turned the world upside down with lock downs across the world, borders closed, and supply chains disrupted. Tea is the second most consumed beverage after water and is sourced from across the globe. Those teas are generally blended, put into a tea bag, and end up on tables around the world. 

Camellia produces tea in Africa and Asia, we see our role as custodians looking after our people, the local communities, and the ecosystems we live and work in.

International Tea Day is linked to four of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Goal 1 reduction of extreme poverty, Goal 2 the fight against hunger, Goal 5 the empowerment of woman, and Goal 15 the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems. These goals lie at the heart of everything we do at Camellia across the group be in India, Bangladesh, Kenya, or Malawi. Each operation is unique in its own way but strive to be the best and to constantly move the bar upwards.

Sustainable Development Goal 1: No Poverty


We work with our local communities providing employment and generating income through the purchasing of green leaf. We run farmer field schools to improve their tea husbandry and to ensure that they can get the best possible price for their tea. We support over 20,000 smallholder farmers in Kenya and Malawi.


Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger


We have been pioneering our kitchen garden projects for many years now – educating and supporting our workers to grow a whole range of vegetables to improve their nutrition. The kitchen garden makes up the heart of the home and is something that we and everybody involved is very proud of.  


In India, at Amgoorie all our workers are encouraged to maintain their kitchen gardens and grow organic vegetables for their families. Worker’s have not only been able to sustain their families, but have also harvested a surplus which is sold in the local market to supplement their incomes.


Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality


The Sexual Harassment Reporting and Prevention programme, SHARP, initiated by our African operations, focuses on developing a reporting framework across a variety of channels in order to combat these issues. In our Kenyan operations we brought together SHARP Champions to coordinate activities relating to the programme. Each employee has been provided with a wrist band with contacts enabling them to raise concerns and report problems via WhatsApp or text message. At our operations in Malawi, community groups have been set up in all our estates to encourage communication between employees, and to ensure day to day issues are reported to management.

At Eastern Produce Malawi, we have seen the benefits since the formation of the Women Welfare Committees on our estates, such as the introduction of breast feeding and under-five programs and shelters, assigning light duties to pregnant women, giving female workers and smallholders the opportunity to weigh their green leaf first when they in the queue with men. We are also encouraging more senior and technical positions to be filled by women.


In India, we have set up our Blue Angels, these Mother’s Clubs exist at all of our estates in West Bengal and Assam. These groups of women are creating awareness of health and hygiene and welfare of families living on estates.

Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life on Land


The sustainable production of tea is key to ensuring that we are still able to continue for generations to come. We are committed to the long term – we look after the environment around us ensuring that wildlife has every chance to thrive. In India we ensure that our gardens are elephant friendly and that we do not build dams that the elephants cannot get out from. We plant indigenous trees to enrich our forests and ensure that our water sources are kept clean. We have been at the forefront of creating wetlands for ensuring that the water we use goes back into the system clean and healthy.


Tea is important to so many people's livelihoods – be it those that work on the estates, the smallholders that provide green leaf and the local communities in which we work.  International Tea Day is our chance to recognise that and say thank you!

Our 2021 Annual Report is now available.