Organic Tea Project in Deniyaya

Organic Tea Project in Deniyaya

Since 2011, small scale tea farmers in Deniyaya, Matara District, South Province, next to Sinharaja forest have been challenging to make the organic tea with our support. This project aims to 1. reduce tea small holders’ vulnerabilities in their livelihood with organic tea which can be sold in broader markets with organic premium, and 2. to protect the regional environment, especially Sinharaja forest which has been damaged by expansion of tea cultivation and chemical input for tea farming, and 3. reduce the health risk of consumers and farmers by chemical input. We organized the organic tea farming group, Eksath Kabonikka Tea Waga Karuwange Sangamay (United Organic Tea Cultivating Association; Eksath), and currently 87 farmers from Keeriweragama, Keeriweladola, and Batayaya, Pallegama in Deniyaya have joined this group.

Sinharaja forest with tea field in the buffer zone.Sinhalaja forest is recognized World Heritage Site with its rich biodiversity and endemic species. But,it has been degraded by logging, expansion agricultural field.

Map of project site

Main Support by PARCIC

  1. Provide knowledge and training for organic farming.
  2. Distribute cows to make compost which improve soil fertility.
  3. Support to get organic certification
  4. Connect farmers to the market
  5. Organize the farmers’ group, Eksath, and develop their organizational capability
  6. Promote organic farming in the community

Each member were distributed a cow to make natural compost to apply to their organic field by themselves. They built a cow shed, a compost plot, and a boundary to segregate the organic plot and non-organic plot. The series of organic farming seminars have been held for group members. They cover topics such as; the basic knowledge about organic farming, the effective way of compost making and applying, cow feeding, and record keeping of farming. They also visited the Tea Research Institution (TRI) and the organic tea factory to improve the organic farming practice and the quality of tea in 2012. Field officers visit each farmer daily to monitor and guide their farming. Regular group meetings are held to discuss their problem, and share their experiences among group members.

Exposure visit at TRI in Talawakale; lecture how to maintain nursery

Regular monitoring of tea field; guiding our member to keep farming record by staff

Field inspection for JAS organic certification

Environmental research by members

Environmental seminar for Batayaya school children

Baby cow from mother distributed to Mr. Piyadasa. He can get milk and additional income from selling milk.

How we are doing organic tea making

  1. No chemical agricultural input
    • We apply organic compost instead of chemical fertilizer, and utilize plants and other NON chemical and locally available material to supply enough nitrogen in to soil and to balance soil composition.
    • Weed control is done by hands, also use natural mulch, such as banana leaf, and glicidia, to keep less weed instead of using chemical herbicide.
  2. Maintain biodiversity with mix cultivation
  3. Keep farming record for effective maintenance
  4. Improve the quality of leaf with appropriate practice in farming, and transporting

Our member showing his compost to Prof. Subasinghe from Ruhuna Univ.

Mix cultivation with cinnamon, black pepper, coconuts, and so on.

This organic tea group started to collect tea leaves from their organic tea plot and process them into organic tea at the organic tea factory, Nilmini tea factory, near Deniyaya.

Tea leaf collection; Members’ tea are collected and sent to Nilmini organic tea factory weekly.

Members’ tea leaf are collected and sent to Nilmini organic tea factory weekly. The quality of tea leaf is checked every time.

Marketing Support

With the support by organic tea factory, Nilmini Estate (Pvt) Ltd, about 400kg/month is produced by Eksath. PARCIC Tokyo has been selling Eksath’s tea as the fair trade product in Japan since 2013.

PARCIC’s tea package for Japanese market

PARCIC’s Fair Trade Earl Grey Tea won The Social Products Award 2014 in Japan with its impact on society and environment.