Trustea, a sustainability code and verification system for the tea sector, is planning to extend its certification programme from bulk tea to retail packs by September 2020, according to Rajesh Bhuyan, director, Trustea.
Working with small tea growers, estates and bought leaf factories since 2014, trustea has so far certified 620 million kg of Indian tea for sustainable production and compliance.
Its code has 11 ‘chapters’ which encompass compliance with wage regulations and presence of chemicals as per plant protection laws, among other things. It works with tea industry to address key sustainability issues like food safety, stagnating yields, pest and disease control, wages, worker welfare and livelihood improvement of small growers.
“Trustea validates that tea is produced in a sustainable manner under three pillars — environment, safety and livelihoods,” Mr. Bhuyan said, adding a traceability app would be launched as a pilot from October 1 to establish the compliance level of a particular pack of tea.
This app is being developed mainly for the small tea growers , he said, adding that an agricultural advisory service has also been integrated into this app.
The pilot would be done in Assam, West Bengal and south Indian States. Over a quarter of the tonnage certified by Trustea is grown by small tea growers.
Mr. Bhuyan said that the Tea Research Association was brought in two months ago to provide field support to Trustea certification process. Action for Food Production (AFRO) was also an implementation partner.