Health initiatives for women tea farmers in Turkey

Our work with farmers goes far beyond agricultural improvements. At tea plantations in Turkey, where almost 80% of the farmers are women, we donated a scanning machine to promote the early detection of cancers, as part of a major programme and four individual projects on sustainable tea farming.

Training and support projects in Turkey

In 2011, we launched a Sustainable Tea Agriculture project in Turkey along with a Rainforest Alliance certification programme, to benefit both farmers and consumers.

Around 18,000 farmers received training in different subjects in villages in the Rize and Artvin provinces in the country. The training covered the science of tea cultivation, erosion control, how to use buffer zones to protect wildlife and other conservation measures, household waste management, occupational health and safety, record keeping and fair management of employees.

Then in 2012 we took part in four new projects. The first, the Trial Garden project, showed farmers how the most appropriate farming methods worked in practice. The Waste Collection project found a solution to a major waste collection issue in the region.

In the third project, our tea brand Lipton launched demonstrated its support for the Turkish Cancer Early Diagnosis, Screening and Education Centres, known as KETEMs, by donating a vehicle which can carry out breast and cervical cancer screening. Finally, the Electronic Database project, which we carried out in partnership with Vodafone, has made it possible for farmers to keep accurate records on tea production.

Almost 80% of tea farmers are women, so providing scanning for early diagnosis of female cancers will help save many lives.

And in one village we set up a pilot project on the biological treatment of wastewater, as we work towards our target of improving water, sanitation and hygiene. Complementing our efforts, the governor of the Rize province has made a commitment to extend the wastewater treatment system if it proves successful.

We train smallholder farmers in methods of waste management and audit their performance. As a result of their training, almost 500 farmers took corrective action to manage wastewater in a more sustainable way.