Nine small-scale tea growers in Assam, India are growing tea organically and processing their own tea at their garden sites. Their organic gardens are a haven for birds and microorganisms and their entrepreneurship is inspiring. This is an unusual trade relationship as there is no formal cooperative or business setup for Level Ground to work with and because each tea grower is producing a finished product. We’ve formed a relationship with each of the tea growers on an individual basis and work to provide feedback to each other on production, price and quality. Level Ground issues an annual purchase agreement with each tea grower that covers growing practices, manufacturing technique, price, labourers wages & advance financing.
Trading Partner: Small Tea Coop
Background of Small Tea Coop: Small Tea Coop grew out of the work of Fertile Ground, a Canadian NGO founded in 2003 to offer information and technical support on organic methods to farmers and tea growers in Assam. Small Tea Coop partners with Level Ground to facilitate communication, distribution of Fair Trade Premiums and to offer ongoing education and capacity building for the small tea growers.
Farmer Profile: The tea growers own and operate the tea gardens and rely on the sale of tea as their primary source of income. All of the processing of the tea is done by hand in very small drying facilities that each tea garden has setup themselves. Each tea garden employs between 5 and 20 labourers.
Direct Fair Trade Premiums: Premiums from purchases of tea go entirely to the labourers and the decision as to what the money put towards is determined by the labourers in an open meeting facilitated by Small Tea Coop and Level Ground. Previously the premiums went to a water filtration for each home, and piglets to raise and sell for profit.