Fair Trade Darjeeling Tea
We want to create a trading situation that benefits both the producer and the consumer - using market principles.
When it comes to supporting a regional economy which has the potential to survive, charitable donations and political subsidies usually do more harm than good. We want to raise consciousness about genuine high-quality tea. A better quality will be achieved through hiring more labor, which increases some production costs, but will result in disproportionately higher sales revenues for the producer.
Higher prices for better-grade tea, on the one hand, and greater demand for labor, on the other, allow the influential trade unions in Darjeeling to negotiate better wages and working conditions. One tangible result we observe is that the employees on the Darjeeling plantations already enjoy better working conditions relative to other parts of India.
High-quality production is also important for another reason: at present, cheap mass production has created a glut and put downward pressure on prices worldwide. But neither the consumer nor the producer is helped by the production of an inferior and adulterated product. Many developing countries are still exporting raw materials whose prices have a falling tendency, while prices for the import of industrial products are rising – this is known as the problem of the "terms of trade."
Such countries will always be in a weak position to achieve higher prices for their raw materials as long as the finished product is created in the buyer countries.
In the case of tea, merchants in the buying countries do this through blending teas of different qualities and origins, as well as by creating a variety of flavors through the addition of aromatic additives. By contrast, the Teekampagne buys and markets Darjeeling as an end product. As a result, there is a much smaller span between the price paid to the producer and the price charged to the customer, while the overall cost to the consumer remains low. This is a "winwin" concept that benefits all sides.