Next time you take a sip of the world’s most popular beverage, think of the hands that harvested it from a hill far away. Many that work on tea plantations around the world are children forced into labor or adults earning deplorable wages.
Not so, however, in the fields of Mpanga Tea Growers Factory outside Fort Portal, Uganda. Mpanga is different from the dozens of other growers in the country because it grows Fair Trade tea and is solely owned by small holder farmers. One of my recent clients, Shared Interest, is a UK-based ethical investment cooperative that provided $250,000 worth of capital to Mpanga in the form of a loan. This allowed the Fair Trade growers to expand their business and land on which they farm. Shared Interest is the world’s only 100% fair trade lender.
The land surrounding the factory is host to clean, modern schools, health care facilities, and potable water sources for use by the community. All this leads to a better quality of life for those that work in the factory or gather its leaves, not to mention a warm, fuzzy feeling for those enjoying a cup of tea harvested from the land.