This gift in action
Tea is a vital cash crop but also one extremely vulnerable to changing climate. And in the tea-growing hills of central Sri Lanka, increasingly unpredictable weather is having an effect on the crop and the people who grow and pick it.
Despite appearing lush and green, the tea plantations of Nuwara Eliya district have been experiencing extended droughts. It means that tea growers like Kusumawathi are struggling to cope. "The climate has changed here. These days it's so unpredictable. When it's dry, it stays dry for much longer; and then the rains come with such force."
Around one million people depend on the tea industry in Sri Lanka, earning little more than a dollar or two a day. For many labourers, there's no daily guarantee of work, as hiring can depend on crop yields and weather patterns. And if growers own any land, it is generally less than an acre, and some like Nilanthi have lost 25 per cent of their income.
Oxfam has been helping to support smallholder tea producers like Nilanthi and Kusumawathi, providing technical and business training so that they're able to improve the management of their plantations. Oxfam has also helped smallholders to form societies so that they can collectively negotiate better prices for their tea and expand production, and apply for bank loans.