Healthy Diets for Tea Communities

Improving diets for tea workers, farmers and their families in Kenya, Malawi and India.

Promoting knowledge of, access to, and demand for nutritious food

Poor diets are the leading cause of global ill health and a driver of poor nutrition. Tea workers and farmers often suffer from undernutrition because their diets lack essential nutrients and vitamins.

 Healthy Diets for Tea Communities was a coalition led by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and ETP, with funding from eight leading tea companies, to address poor nutrition in tea supply chains in India, Kenya, and Malawi.

  • 2020–2023
  • Status: Completed

Project overview

Investing in the health of people who grow and produce tea, through varied diets and improved nutrition.

Project partners

ETP core funding, Unilever, Taylors of Harrogate, JDE, Ringtons Ltd., The Republic of Tea, Bigelow, Reginald Ames, Wollenhaupt, and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The programme worked on different areas in each country context, but focused on:

  • Increasing demand for nutritious foods through interactive communication and education activities interventions which improve people’s food knowledge and choices, for example training, street theatre or cooking demonstrations.
  • Increasing access to nutritious food through a variety of methods, including vegetable gardens, fruits trees and fortified lunches at work.
  • Improving the enabling environment by promoting the importance of investing in workforce nutrition programmes to businesses and governments.

In Malawi, training sessions supported farmers to learn how to grow biofortified crops and improve their access to nutritious foods.

In India, the programme showed tea workers how to make improvements to their diets. Street plays, home visits and cooking competitions were all used to engage communities, while local shops increased their range of nutritious food.

In Kenya, tea farmers and workers took part in training sessions at tea buying centres to improve their knowledge of healthy diets. Radio programmes increased reach, and nutritious foods was promoted in local shops and markets.

  • The initiative has increased demand and access to nutritious food among the participating communities.
  • Nutrition education sessions reached 27,205 farmers and workers, while radio spots on the local breakfast show reached an average of 264,048 people over three weeks.
  • We distributed seeds for crops to around 10,000 farmers, hosted 52 cooking demonstrations, and 11 cooking competitions in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.

The project team also took part in a knowledge sharing-forum with a range of government departments, private sector actors, non-profits and research groups.

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Key achievements
27,205

smallholder farmers and workers reached with nutrition education

10,000

farmers provided with indigenous vegetables, sweet potato vines and high iron beans

52

cooking demonstrations hosted

11

cooking competitions held

97%

of smallholder farmers reached report they are now more likely to eat nutritious food