The Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, and resulting supply chain disruptions have created a tremendous strain and a destructive impact on tea industry, especially on the smallholders and women-led farmers in Sri Lanka. These challenges continue despite the slowing down of the pandemic spread. Vulnerable communities require targeted support – both financial and other forms to cope with the ‘new normal’ that they are facing. A key priority and an urgent requires that the health infrastructure in the country is further strengthened in order to support the needs of its population and vulnerable communities from any such situation occurring in the future.
Responding to this critical need, the Rainforest Alliance has donated vital medical equipment to the hospital/s in Nuwara-Eliya and Bulathsinghala that most of the smallholder tea growers and plantation workers employed by Rainforest Alliance certified tea plantations access for their health and medical needs. This level of support and strengthening of capacities will enable the hospitals to effectively respond towards the treatment and care of communities in the area for COVID 19. The Rainforest Alliance remains strongly committed towards protecting and safeguarding the well-being of its stakeholders in these unprecedented times; and hopes that this level of long-term strengthening of capacities will help the small tea growers and plantation communities receive uninterrupted medical services throughout the current and future challenges they may face.
The Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organization working in 70 countries at the intersection of business, agriculture and forests. The Rainforest Alliance is creating a more sustainable world by using social and market forces to protect nature and improve the lives of farmers and forest communities. By bringing farmers, forest communities, companies, and individuals together it addresses some of the most pressing social and environmental challenges of today. The organization changes the way the world produces, sources and consumes, with a focus on cocoa, coffee, tea, bananas, forest products, and palm oil through its certification program, supply chain services, landscape management, and advocacy. In Sri Lanka 2021, more than 88,000 hectares of land and more than 74,000 small farmers were certified according to the Rainforest Alliance or UTZ standards, which are designed to improve economic, environmental, and social sustainability.