Van Rees is proud to announce that we signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and thereby declared our intentions to support the Malawi Tea Revitalisation Programme 2020. This large-scale industry programme has the objective to achieve a competitive industry where workers earn a higher living wage and smallholders are thriving.
Malawi is an important tea origin for Van Rees and has been for a long time since we opened our office in Malawi in the early 1970’s. Currently Van Rees is one of the main buyers of Malawi tea in the weekly auction. The tea from Malawi is not only important for our business but also provides a livelihood for the many tea workers, smallholders and their families. Various companies in the tea industry have acknowledged that the living wages in Malawi are relatively low and strive to act on it.[foto] During a panel discussion at the biggest conference on tea sustainability, Team Up 2015 Pushing the Boundaries, several programme participants discussed the opportunities for Malawi. Managing Director of Van Rees Group, Maarten Obbink, stated that this ambitious programme is broadly supported and hence an opportunity for the industry to really achieve an impact. Every company has its own role in the supply chain and we have to work together to make it a success.
Signing the MoU is therefore only a first step for Van Rees. Together with our partners we will work on practical initiatives that will contribute to realizing an improved living income for workers and smallholders. We look for opportunities that will fit our role as a trader in tea. As a bridge in the supply chain Van Rees brings together needs from customers and producers which can also help supply chain collaboration. In September a meeting will be held with all stakeholders where more concrete roles and steps are defined. Van Rees is eager to use its market knowledge to give feedback to producers from around the world that hopefully will help them become more competitive versus other producing countries and achieve higher price levels. Other areas of focus will be in support of replanting, marketing structures and logistics.
Van Rees believes that only an industry that creates value for all its actors will remain successful in the future and hence will be truly sustainable. We are very proud of our role in this programme and will look forward to work together with all signees of the MoU.