Organic and fair trade tea is growing in popularity as people realize the advantages of spending a bit more per purchase with the payback being benefits in both health and human terms.
Most people may not realize that tea is often grown on plantations in the developing world where the crops are sprayed with many chemicals and pesticides.
The workers who pick the leaves are not only exposed to this danger; they are often paid a fractional minimal wage as well.
Why Buy Tea that is Organic or Fair Trade?
Consumers usually decide to buy organic and fair trade blends because production is carried out using sustainable farming practices, specifically not allowing deforestation to occur as part of plantation farming techniques.
Some producers go down the fair trade route, which gives the consumer further altruistic benefit in terms of assurance that the workers on the tea or coffee plantations have been working under improved terms and conditions, giving them a better quality of life and reducing exploitation.
What does "organic" mean?
Tea or coffee qualifies as organic only when environmental-friendly techniques are deployed in its production. An organic unit should be a self-sustaining one, designing the farm at the time of establishment of new organic tea or coffee plantation is crucial for optimum utilization of resources within the plantation itself.
To create organic tea fields, it is necessary to build up inherent nutrient levels and neutralize the chemical residues left in soils from past cultivation. This requires an interim period - called the conversion period.
Based on the agro-ecological conditions, this period may vary from 3 to 5 years. If plantation is taken up before the conversion period is over, chemical residues may exist in the product. Organic processing techniques are sufficient to make pesticides nonexistent in the end product.
Source: Davinos Greeno of GuideMeGreen.com.