Tetley’s Farmers First Hand includes Rooibos farmers

Tetley’s Farmers First Hand is a unique communications campaign that connects tea drinkers with tea producers around the world. Utilising Facebook, Farmers First Hand enables tea drinkers to communicate directly with tea producers and other people involved in the Rainforest Alliance certification programme. This provides people with valuable insight into tea production and the positive impact of certification on farming and community life.

The initiative was launched in 2011, following a commitment from Tetley that it would source all of its tea, including Rooibos, from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms. On Facebook, Tetley’s Farmers First Hand now boasts over 21 000 fans.

A panel of farmers uses mobile phones to send daily updates to Facebook. Fans of the page can then make comments and ask questions which are in turn sent back to the farmers for their response, enabling conversations on various topics. The panel also shares photos and videos for use on Facebook.

The people who buy Tetley tea increasingly want to know where and how their tea has been grown and who has grown and produced it. Tetley wanted to give tea lovers a chance to chat directly with some of the producers who grow and pick the tea that they drink daily.

The Farmers First Hand panel now includes four workers from the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ Zeekoevlei here in Clanwilliam. Following a visit from Tetley in November last year, Dawid, Marie, Sara and Jan were selected to take part in the project and are now communicating with tea drinkers around the world.

Says Shaun Wynne-Jones, Tetley’s Social Media Manager,"Our page acts as a hub where consumers can have open and frank conversations with tea farmers. The farmers provide rich insights into their lives and traditions, and talk about what they do on a daily basis".

According to Ria Kearney, Tetley’s Sustainability Manager, "We want Tetley tea drinkers to enjoy their favourite cup of tea knowing that by choosing it they have helped to protect the environment on tea estates and provide more sustainable livelihoods for the people who work there. What better way to achieve this than by allowing them to personally connect with the people on the estates and farms and see and hear their story first hand”.

To join the page and chat to our Rooibos farmers, go to www.Facebook.com/TetleysFarmersfirsthand