TEA Talk: Are tea cooperatives better for human rights?

TEA Talk: Are tea cooperatives better for human rights?

In February’s THIRST TEA Talk, Dr Miriam Wenner of Goettingen University shared the findings of her research on two tea cooperatives in Darjeeling. It concludes that how a cooperative is set up can make the difference between an empowered workforce and one that ‘self-exploits’. Bebika Khawas of the University of North Bengal then analysed various models tea worker cooperatives in the Dooars – with varying levels of effectiveness. And finally Narendranath Dharmaraj, former CEO of Harrison Malayalam put forward the commercial benefits of redistributing land for worker cooperatives – which he sees as vital to preempt the calamity facing the outdated plantation model. We also heard from Michael Pennant-Jones, formerly of Finlays, about the challenges of trying to ensure Kenyan smallholder tea cooperatives remained self-sustaining.

More information on the issue and the speakers

Talking of cooperatives… In this blogIs there a role for cooperatives in the tea industry – THIRST Trustee and ethical trade consultant, Stirling Smith, explains the concept of cooperatives, and explores three potential models for tea growers.

Watch a recording of the session here: 

(Apologies for the technical problem with Miriam’s slides at the start. The problem is fixed 3 minutes in.)