On 20 August 2019, the Project “Transforming livelihoods & enabling market access for ethnic minority women farmers in the tea sector” (T-LEAF) was launched in Moc Chau, Son La. Forty representatives from governmental and private sectors and the villages where the project will take place participated in the event. The workshop’s main objective is to introduce the project to all partners including authorities, technical support institutions and members of the community.
The workshop also served as a forum for authorities at all levels, tea growers and businesses to discuss difficulties in producing and selling Van Ho’s tea products.
First, tea farming activities have mostly based on growers’ experiences without applying sustainable techniques. Hence, tea quality and quantity stay quite low; tea leaves are inappropriately harvested and in jeopardy of growing unsustainably. Secondly, tea production and sales merely take place at household-level, resulting in low production and sales competitiveness. Finally, production activity has not been done in groups. This poses a big challenge for wholesale companies in ensuring a stable source. In fact, tea has been harvested at quantities exceeding the production capacity of these companies while at times, there’re not enough tea leaves for companies to process.
“I am extremely happy, because despite operating for 2 years, we have never had such a meeting like this, where we can talk directly with tea growers. I expect the project to be implemented as planned so that all problems we mentioned today will finaly be solved,” said Mr. Tran Minh Hiep, Director of Van Ho Tea Cooperative.
The project T-LEAF has been designed to address the challenges the tea industry in Son La is facing. It is expected to support ethnic minority women and companies in dealing with such difficulties. In the end, the project aims to create an enabling environment for the local tea industry.
The T-LEAF project will be implemented in two communes, Chieng Khoa and To Mua of Van Ho district, Son La province, from from 2019 to 2021. Financially supported by the Australian Government as part of its Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT) programme, T-LEAF will be co-implemented by CARE, the Agricultural Extension Centre of Son La Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Son La Women’s Union, To Mua Tea Investment and Manufacturing Joint Stock Company Van Ho Tea Cooperative.