Sunday, June 5, 2011

Certification and Trade of Tea


Workers who pick and pack tea on plantations in developing countries can face harsh working conditions and can earn below the living wage.

There are a number of bodies that independently certify the production of tea. Tea from certified estates can be sold with a certification label on pack. The most important certification schemes are Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade, UTZ Certified, and Organic. All these schemes certify other crops (like coffee, cocoa and fruit) as well. Rainforest Alliance certified tea is sold by Unilever brands Lipton and PG Tips in Western Europe, Australia and the US. Fairtrade certified tea is sold by a large number of suppliers around the world. UTZ Certified announce a partnership in 2008 with Sara Lee brand Pickwick tea.

Production of organic tea is rising; 3,500 tonnes of organic tea were grown in 2003. The majority of this tea (about 75%) is sold in France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

According to the FAO, in 2007 the largest importer of tea, by weight, was the Russian Federation, followed by the United Kingdom, Pakistan, and the United States. Kenya, China, India and Sri-Lanka were the largest exporters of tea in 2007 (with exports of: 374229, 292199, 193459 and 190203 tonnes respectively). The largest exporter of black tea in the world is Kenya, while the largest producer (and consumer) of black tea in the world is India.

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