Blog Post

Unpacking identity and intersectionality in India’s Assamese smallgrower tea sector

Do you know where your tea comes from? Recent reports on the state of the industry have shown that there is cause for concern about whether your cup of tea was produced ethically, particularly if those leaves came from India. While the rise of the small tea sector is fairly well documented, there is extremely little evidence about who is conducting this small-scale cultivation, what their roles are, and the status of their working conditions and economic opportunities. Who are these invisible workers, and what can be done to safeguard their livelihoods and reduce exploitation? To answer these questions, we look to the northeastern Indian state of Assam, where these issues are particularly pronounced. Recent research by the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT in the tea-growing region of Assam sought to understand who are the faces behind each cup of tea, and how their positions in the value chain could be made more visible and improved.