Healthy Diets for Tea Communities is a coalition led by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), with funding from with eight leading tea companies to address poor nutrition in tea supply chains in Assam (India), Kenya, and Malawi. The programme is co-funded by Unilever, Taylors of Harrogate, the Republic of Tea, Bigelow, Reginald Ames, JDE, Wollenhaupt and Ringtons. These brands want to support tea communities through a range of sustainability initiatives and are invested in improving the lives of the people who grow and produce tea. We’ve captured our collective ambition in an infographic.
Poor diets are the leading cause of global ill health and a driver of poor nutrition, leading to undernutrition and deficiencies such as anaemia, decreased energy levels, reduced health, and lower productivity. Tea workers and farmers often suffer from high undernutrition rates than because their diets, which consist largely of staple foods such as rice, bread, maize and wheat, are often not varied and balanced, lacking foods rich in essential nutrients and vitamins needed for good health and for supporting the many physical functions needed for an active life.
Healthy Diets for Tea Communities aims to improve the diets of tea workers, farmers and their families in Kenya, Malawi and Assam State in India.
The programme works on different areas in each country context, but focuses on:
- Increasing demand for nutritious foods through interactive communication and education activities interventions which improve people’s food knowledge and choices, for example training, street theatre or cooking demonstrations.
- Increasing access to nutritious food through a variety of methods, including vegetable gardens, fruits trees and fortified lunches at work.
- Improving the enabling environment by promoting the importance of investing in workforce nutrition programmes to businesses and governments.
The programme aims to reach 750,000 people between 2020 and 2023:
- 150,000 farmers and workers directly,
- and 600,000 people indirectly, as farmers and workers share their knowledge with approximately four household members.
Our Healthy Diets for Tea Communities programme is now underway in Assam – India, Kenya and Malawi. Farmers and tea workers, and their families, are taking part in a range of activities that are helping to improve their access to nutritious foods and better information about good diets – through enhanced workforce nutrition programmes.
In India, the programme has been supporting tea workers to learn about the importance of good nutrition and encouraging them to make improvements to their diets. Street plays, home visits and cooking competitions are some of the innovative ways that workers will be accessing information about good diets. To support this learning being put into practice, local women will be making door-to-door sales with healthy food options, and local shops will be increasing their range of nutritious foods.
In Kenya tea farmers and workers will be taking part in training sessions at the tea buying centres to improve their knowledge about healthy diets. Radio programmes will help the programme to reach more farmers and nutritious foods will be promoted even further, at local shops and markets where they are sold.
In Malawi training sessions are supporting farmers to learn about the benefits of growing biofortified crop to improve their access to nutritious foods. Farmers learn about the importance of micronutrients in varied food groups and the special requirements needed to grow bio-fortified crops, such as the correct spacing, fertiliser and access to the seeds. As fortified foods often cost more, these foods are sometimes inaccessible to farmers, and so this training will help secure farmers access to healthy foods.