Unilever Chief Supply Chain Officer, Pier Luigi Sigismondi, and Tanzanian Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, the Hon. Minister Christopher Chiza were present in Dodoma to agree the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) setting up the partnership.
The Hon. Christopher Chiza said: “This MoU symbolizes the determination of the Government of Tanzania to implement Kilimo Kwanza. We are committed to commercialise agriculture whilst creating income opportunities for smallholder farmers and properly manage our natural resources. As a government we are inviting investment partners under the SAGCOT initiative who are committed to our inclusive and sustainable investment principles.
“Unilever has aligned its investment strategy with the Tanzania Tea Industry Development Strategy and the Transformation of Smallholder Tea Sub-sector as championed by the Tanzania Smallholder Tea Development Agency (TSHTDA). This opportunity, will allow us to achieve our objective of commercialization of tea farming by smallholder growers through effective involvement in the tea value chain."
Pier Luigi Sigismondi, said: “Our vision is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our environmental footprint and increasing our positive social impact. We firmly believe business must deliver more equitable and sustainable growth. However, to achieve large-scale change, real collaboration between companies, governments and NGOs is needed. The public and private partnership announced today aims to do just that. It is a great example of our Sustainable Living Plan in action.
“I am honoured to be able to work with partners such as the Tanzanian Government to help secure the future of the Tanzanian tea industry by promoting sustainable agriculture and improving the lives of small farmers in order to produce the high quality tea our consumers demand.”
The partnership is implemented in and supported by the Southern Agriculture Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) as part of the Tanzanian Government Kilimo Kwanza (Transforming Agriculture) programme.
Unilever will work with the Government, the Tea Board of Tanzania and The Tanzania Smallholder Tea Development Agency, to improve the supply chain, yield and quality of tea, collaborating with other public and private players and donors as appropriate.
The partnership covers investment in the Unilever estates and supply chain, new factories and local infrastructure, research and development, support programmes for smallholder farmers and obtaining Rainforest Alliance certification so that all related tea production is sustainable.
Notes to editors:
This initiative was first proposed in May 2012 in a “Letter of Intent” to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition as part of the Africa Union / World Economic Forum sponsored Grow Africa initiative. This followed discussions between Unilever CEO Paul Polman and H.E. President Kikwete in April 2012. Unilever has been closely involved with the Government of Tanzania in the development of the SAGCOT corridor and worked with relevant parties in developing this proposal, including the Tea Board of Tanzania and the Tanzanian Smallholder Development Agency.
Unilever’s tea estates in Mufindi were established in the 1940’s as the Tanganyika Tea Company, which then became Brooke Bond in the 70’s and finally in 1984 they were acquired by Unilever. The tea produced in Mufindi is exported to Unilever tea blending factories around the world and used in brands such as the UK’s market leading PG Tips, and the world’s biggest tea brand, Lipton Yellow Label.
The Unilever Tanzania Tea estate in Mufindi currently produces around 10,000 tonnes of tea per annum, directly employing 6,000 people and supporting 30,000 dependants. The target of this partnership is to at least double this through investment in the estate and in smallholder production of 6,000 hectares and efforts to improve the quality of tea and efficiency of the supply chain.
In 2007, Unilever was the first major tea company to commit to sustainable sourcing of tea on a large scale. By 2015 we aim to have the tea in all Lipton tea bags sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ estates. By 2020, 100% of Unilever’s tea, including loose tea, will be sustainably sourced.
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