Presently tea factories use grow water hungry eucalyptus hardwood trees which they burn to dry tea. Typically, they err on drying too much and burn an abundance of wood. Our data analytics should enable tea factories to identify the optimal amount of fuel to consume in the drying process, reduce their carbon footprint, and encourage them to identify alternative more sustainable sources of drying and powering of the factory processes.
Our customers are Rainforest Alliance certified aimed at protecting endangered species and forest areas of high conservation value, setting aside portions of land as forest cover using tea bushels, and providing workers with improved wages. We are focused on incorporating everyone involved in tea production to learn to produce a greener cup of tea using responsible farming methods promoted by the Rainforest Alliance.
Using our innovation to increase and maintain the quality of tea produced in East Africa means increasing payment for local tea producers who include a significant number of small-scale holder farmers whose payment for fresh tea leaves is often below the cost of production with their labor cost factored in. There will be significant returns for them resulting from introduced efficiencies and hence increased focus on sustainable agriculture practices.
According to a report by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), there are approximately over 70 tea estates just under the single umbrella of the Kenya Tea Development Authority employing over 10,000 people and 560,000 small-holder farmers in Kenya. It is extrapolated that there are an additional millions of people in other countries based upon production outputs. With each tea farmer likely supporting a family of 5, our research could benefit a total of approximately 100 million people with improved livelihoods from their primary means of income without significant changes to their behaviors or lifestyles