True sustainability requires tea to move away from monoculture
In the Netherlands, people drink on average 3 cups of tea per day. Sri Lanka is a well-known tea supplier to the Netherlands. Sri Lankan tea is called Ceylon tea (the country was called Ceylon until 1972). Most of the current certification schemes for tea do not ensure sustainability of tea production in Sri Lanka. Plantation workers and farmers in cooperatives still do not earn a living wage to support their families. Also, soils continue to be depleted, leading to erosion and decreasing harvests. ProFound developed a truly sustainable value chain, which goes beyond these certifications.
Producing tea in a forest-setting provides additional income and food
ProFound supported a private tea estate and a tea cooperative to produce tea in a forest garden system together with partners Both Ends and Rainforest Rescue International. Different cash, food and soil improving trees were planted in the tea plantation. These plants support each other in one dynamic production system. For example, the trees provide shade to the tea, increasing quality and price.