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Podcast

23.36 mins 03/11/21

Andrew Ethuru

The bitter story behind tea

Andrew brings to life his experiences of a Kenyan tea farmer and the challenges they currently face, and recalls his time as Cafédirect Non-Executive Director.

More about Andrew

Andrew Kobia Ethuru is a tea farmer from Kenya. He lives in Meru County North-East of Nairobi. His tea goes to the Michimikuru Tea Company where it gets processed and sold.

He and his wife started farming tea in the late 1970s and has worked as in senior roles at multinational tea companies including the Michimikuru Tea Company.

In 2005 Cafédirect began working with the Michimikuru Tea Company over a period of two years to help it become Fairtrade certified, so that it would be able to buy their tea. Andrew became the Chairman of Michimikuru Fairtrade Premium Committee and Michimikuru Tea Company became a shareholder of Cafédirect.

Andrew visited Cafédirect in the UK in 2008 during Fairtrade Fortnight and in 2009 he was elected as Non-Executive Director, representing tea growers in eastern Africa, where he served until 2015. During his tenure, the Cafédirect Producers’ Foundation was founded and he was elected the Chair of the Board that represented the producer shareholders.  The foundation ran projects that supported and improved coffee, tea and cocoa farming businesses.

Prior to joining Cafédirect, Andrew served as a Board Director of the then Eastern African Fairtrade Network, representing Kenyan tea growers.

What to expect

Andrew gives us insights into where our tea comes from and why buying ethical tea that pays a fair price to farmers is vital in ensuring its future.  We discuss how tea prices and climate change are the biggest challenges faced by tea farmers, which can only be combated collectively.

Andrew recalls his time as a Director on the Cafédirect Board and how his farming experience was valuable in shaping the business.

He talks of Cafédirect’s producer support programmes that worked alongside farming co-operatives to strengthen their businesses.


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