You may remember earlier this year we bought 18 tea products at random from nine tea companies in China, and after sending the samples to be tested discovered that a whopping 12 of the 18 samples contained at least one pesticide banned for use on tea.
Well guess what? Two of the outed tea companies, Tenfu (天福茗茶) and Anxi Tieguanyin Group (安溪铁观音集团ATG), have agreed to your demands for pesticide use reduction and setting up traceability systems for their supply chain.
Tenfu is one of the largest tea companies selling in China and has promised to invest in a tea traceability system for the country. They will also participate in projects that ensure pesticide use is in line with the government's pesticide reduction targets, and reduce their pesticide use by strengthening their supplier management system and capacity building of their suppliers.
As for ATG? They've already signed to a written commitment to setting up a full traceability system within five years time. This includes their own farms (supplying 5% of total supply), and supplies from external farms (with no less than 50% of the contracted farms having a full traceability system by end of 2015).
ATG have also promised to reach a 50% pesticide use reduction by end of 2015 in their own production base, and invest in reduction of pesticide use in its supply chain. They will continue to promote ecological measures in but not limited to their own farms.
We are also really happy to see that local government bodies have also been pushed by the campaign to prioritize work on pesticide reduction. The most promising signal is that Anxi's local Bureau of Agriculture, which is in charge of tea and fruits spared no effort in facilitating pesticide use control after our initial announcement. They began installation of a new system to tighten the control of pesticide sales to ensure that banned and highly toxic pesticides are no longer on the market.
They've also began projects and investments to help companies find eco-alternatives to chemical pesticides. And now are open to pushing the other players within the region to promote ecological and good agriculture practice.