Indian Tea Association (ITA), the premier and the oldest organization of tea producers in India, in collaboration with SOLIDARIDAD Asia, launched the most beneficial programme, TRINITEA for the smallholder tea growers of India. SOLIDARIDAD Asia is a global sustainability organisation who has extensive experience in providing sustainability and training initiatives for several international projects covering tea as well as other commodities. TRINITEA seeks to provide year-round on-ground training to improve agronomical, social and environmental practices of the smallholders. SOLIDARIDAD and ITA will implement TRINITEA, a digital self-assessment application, which was also launched today, marking a new chapter in the history of the industry. SOLIDARIDAD has developed the android based digital training tool for the farmers in the local language, to continue the training virtually. With its international presence and expertise, SOLIDARIDAD will also render its support for promoting high quality and safe tea production by smallholders in domestic and international markets. ITA has signed MoUs with the major Small Tea Growers Associations in Assam and West Bengal. The United Planters Association of Southern India (UPASI) and SOLIDARIDAD already has a MoU to work towards the sustainability goals in Southern India. UPASI has agreed to support the extension of this programme to the Southern Tea Industry as well.
Elaborating on the benefits of TRINITEA on its launch ceremony, Mr. Vivek Goenka, Chairman, Indian Tea Association, stated, “The TRINITEA programme would facilitate the Indian tea industry to be future ready for new age customer demands. In recent times several producers in the traditional sector including ITA members have increased their stakes in sourcing green leaf to complement their production. Traceability is a challenge. The ITA being a producer’s body considers it prudent to associate and integrate the large production base of the small grower sector so that Indian Tea industry can have an integrated sustainability agenda.”
The cost competitiveness of small tea grower’s produce has the potential to make Indian teas competitive in the global market and boost its exports in the long run. This is in sync with the Agri-Export policy declared by the Government of India, recently. Forging partnership between the large traditional sector and the small tea growing community would mutually benefit both the sectors. Due to the expanding base of the smallholder sector, sustained efforts are required both in terms of capital and time to align and integrate with the mainstream industry where both ITA and SOLIDARIDAD are committed to make noteworthy contributions. Smallholders are likely to benefit in terms of prices due to better market access.
Mr Arijit Raha, Secretary General, Indian Tea Association, stated, “The programme seeks to support the initiatives by the industry to increase exports of high-quality tea from India. In December last year, a high-level delegation of China Tea Marketing Association, led by its Chairman, Mr Wang Qing visited India and signed an MoU with the ITA. The MoU recognised the TRINITEA and China National Guideline for Sustainable Tea as a framework for sustainability in tea production and trade between the two countries. The Indonesian Tea Marketing Association has also provided similar recognition to the TRINITEA framework through an MoU with the ITA.”
Elaborating on their association with Indian Tea Association, Dr. Shatadru Chattopadhayay, Managing Director, SOLIDARIDAD Asia, said, “As an organisation SOLIDARIDAD works towards attaining a benchmark on sustainability in the tea industry. It is our motto to bridge the gap and see to it that smallholder get an even playing ground in the global market. We have to ensure that the produce is accepted with high regard nationally as well as internationally. Smallholder sector now accounts about 50 per cent of India’s tea production. TRINITEA aims to provide the smallholders a platform to be compliant to International and National standards and be competitive in the market by improving quality and realise their aspiration for a better price for their produce.”
Post TRINITEA, way forward:
ITA Sustainability cell with active support of SOLIDARIDAD Asia have set internal goals to accomplish in the next three years. With the development of a smart self-assessment system for small tea growers to improve production practices and also assisting them to take informed decision with a view to improve their overall operational efficiency
Free round the year training sessions with industry thought leaders and experts to reduce crop losses and improve quality
Better acclimatization towards climate change for small holders
Monitoring quality of green leaf
Establishing a traceability mechanism to enable continuous monitoring of source of supply
Sourcing financial support from Government institutions, Banks and other Agencies
Facilitating improved market access in a transparent manner
Encourage sustainability initiatives by forming self-help groups and associations
Establishing a new brand identity of smallholders and their produce nationally and globally through TRINITEA logo