Making a difference can be as easy as drinking a cup of tea, and why not opt for a healthy blend that is both beneficial to you and society?
South African Carmien Tea, established about ten years ago, has just become the first organic tea producer worldwide to meet the UTZ Certified standards.
UTZ Certified (Utz meaning "good" in the Mayan language) is a global certification agency based in Amsterdam which sets the standard for sustainable coffee, cocoa, tea and rooibos growing and sourcing worldwide. Farms and producers have to comply with the UTZ Certified code of conduct with their respective products. These include social and environmental appropriate growing practices as well as efficient farm management.
Carmien Tea's head office is on the historic farm Brakfontein close to Citrusdal. It is today the country's second largest producer and supplier of quality packaged rooibos products in South Africa. All its suppliers grow their tea organically in traditional rooibos areas such as Piekenierskloof, Nieuwoudville, Wupperthal and Gifberg - in and around the legendary Cedarberg Mountains of the Cape.
In complying with the UTZ Certified code of conduct, no chemical fertilisers are used as they disturb the natural mineral content of the soil. Instead, crop rotation is practised to allow the soil time to recover. No preservatives are added to the end product so as not to lower the nutritional value of the tea.
To obtain UTZ Certified accreditation, producers have to ensure that on the farms supplying to them, workers and their families have access to adequate housing, that they have access to healthcare, schools and training, and that their rights of workers are protected. Since 2001, Carmien Tea has been actively involved in economic empowerment through the creation of sustainable employment and shareholding for workers in the company while also being committed to the upliftment of women and children in the wider community.
Mientjie Mouton, managing director of Carmien Tea, said: "I believe we substantially exceed the requirements set by UTZ Certified. For us, sustainability is a passion, not only in striving to achieve an ideal balance between nature and our tea-growing operations but also in the development of our human capital, which has shown such enormous potential in benefitting from the skills transfer we practise daily.
"When we say 'Direct from the farm', we mean exactly that. There are no intermediaries: It is farm people that grow the tea, it is farm people that process it. In fact, farm workers own the majority share in the processing plant where Carmien Tea is made," Mientjie said.
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