Jiangxi Wuyuan Xitou Organic Tea Co
WuYuan Xitou was registered with Fairtrade in 2004. Since then, the Fair Trade system, standards and process has helped the WuYuan Xitou tea farmers in their progress toward the democratization of their local economy and government. Once state-owned, WuYuan Xitou’s ten tea gardens are now owned by individual farmers who have collectively assembled to make up the farmers association. Three of the tea gardens are collectively owned but individually managed. For example, one garden belongs to the area’s middle school and is rented to a single tea farmer who manages it independently.
As a global network, Fair Trade plays a key role in providing training that helps producers improve their business operations so they can be competitive in complex, international markets. The tea farmers have invested funds from their Fair Trade premium in technical assistance to continually improve the farmers' capacity to produce quality tea. Collectively, WuYuan Xitou Tea Farmers Association has utilized Fair Trade's unique market approach to foster new relationships with buyers from around the world, ultimately providing a better income for the farmers and their families.
Fair Trade has greatly benefited us. It has helped us improve the condition of our factory, purchase new machines to improve our quality and even payed for our medical insurance. We all think Fair Trade is very good for our community! ”
Lidarong, cooperative member
Fair Trade is good indeed. It has paid for our medical insurance, improved our roads and added street lights so we are able to see at night. ”
YuaiZhuang, cooperative member
New School and Subsidized Education for Poor Students
The farmers association donated a portion of Fair Trade premium funds to a new school and subsidized the education fees of the tea farmers children.
Medical Insurance and Health Training
Premium funding payed to producers as a result of Fair Trade sales help farmers and workers invest in better lives for themselves and their communities. The association elected to improve the community's access to health care by investing their Fair Trade premium fund in covering members' medical insurance. Funds also enabled the community to improve the conditions of their local health centers, providing them with better access to needed medicines. Members are now even able to receive training in general health care practices.
Organic Certification and Trainings
Farmers have utilized their premiums to cover organic certification fees, demonstrating the farmers dedication to adhering to Fair Trade's sustainable agricultural standards. Strict environmental criteria are core to these standards, including the elimination of harmful agro-chemicals and genetically modified organisms plus environmental assessment plans to protect fragile ecosystems. While organic certification is not required by Fair Trade, farmers will receive a higher price for their organic harvests, which in turn can be used to provide technical assistance to farmers.