Five per cent of global tea production originates from Sri Lanka, where the tea industry employs nearly one million people and contributes $1.5 billion to the country’s economy.
Poor diets and malnutrition are a big concern on tea estates with 35% of children below the age of five reported as being under-developed. Mothers also tend to be under weight and anaemia rates are high due to poor nutrition.
The Ethical Tea Partnership is working with The Republic of Tea in Sri Lanka to improve the nutrition and health of women, men and children on tea estates. We work with the PALM foundation, a community development organisation with expertise in delivering nutrition programmes for communities in Sri Lanka.
In the first year of our programme we’ve worked with over 11,000 people to:
- Improve women’s health through more varied diets
- Provide training on mother and child nutrition
- Establish community kitchens for tea estate residents and workers giving them access to nutritious affordable food
- Construct and repair toilets.
We are working with tea communities to set up kitchen gardens. We have provided training and seeds to tea workers to enable them to set up their own kitchen gardens on their plots at home.
Since the start of the programme, we have seen the number of people setting up their own kitchen gardens increase by 35%. Nearly 70% of those taking part in our programme who have garden plots have now established their own kitchen gardens at home.
Hear from Mummorothy
Working on her kitchen garden, tea estate worker Mummorthy says:
“Growing our own food really helps as we don’t need to buy everything in the shops. We get about 75% of what we need from the garden”.
Hear from Seethaiama
Talking about her kitchen garden, tea worker Seethaiama says:
“I’ve been gardening for about two years now. It’s not too hard and we save money because we don’t need to buy vegetables. This is healthier… My family likes this new way of cooking”.
Find out more
Read more about the impact of our programme here.
For Human Rights Day 2018, we highlighted the work we’re doing to ensure that women in Sri Lankan tea estates can access good quality foods to support well-balanced diets. Hear from these women here.
Read more about the innovative programmes ETP is running in Sri Lanka to change people’s lives.