Sometimes in the tea industry, we get wrapped up in our day to day and lose sight of the fact that we all work for the same industry.  On occasion, we all put aside that day to day and come together as a group to discuss the issues faced by tea and put our heads together to find solutions.  Today was such a day in Malawi.

I made the long trip to beautiful Malawi at the invitation of WUSC – World University Service of Canada.  They are a Canadian NGO whose work is focused on international development.  A series of workshops have been organized by WUSC in order to help facilitate a better understanding of the Canadian tea industry.  That means that over these few days, we are meeting with a series of participants within the tea industry in Malawi giving presentations and having discussions to help better understand our market.

Today was one of those meetings.  And for a moment this morning, when I walked into the conference room, I stopped and reflected on the fact that as fragmented as we sometimes are in this industry, there are times when we come together to help each other.  My audience today included smallholders (growers), Chairmen’s of the largest tea estates, buyers, brokers, as well as the Principal Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture.  It doesn’t get more broad than that.

It was a good reminder however, I hope, for everyone that was in that room.  That no matter what part of the industry we stand, we are all working for the good of one thing…the tea leaf…and specifically today…tea in Malawi.  Because the reality is, that the issues of gender equality, youth employment, living wages can’t be solved by one sector alone.