Four of Indonesia’s tea products obtained the Lestari Certificate. The four tea brands were Sedap Wangi produced by PT Sari Wangi, The Troet and P123 produces by PT Perkebunan Negara (PTPN) VIII and The Kepondong produced by PT Pagilaran.
Rahmat Badrudin, Chairman of the Indonesia Tea Council (DTI) on the occasion of launching the Lestari National Tea Standard in Bogor on Thursday (25/8) said that the measures taken by PT Pagilaran, PTPN VIII and PT Sariwangi were expected to bring a positive chain effect on the empowerment of tea plantations in Indonesia.
Before the certification process, NRG (National reference Group) together with Business Watch Indonesia, DPT and Solidaridad stipulad Lestari National Tea Standard. The standarzation process had begun since 2010 last based on international documents and national policy.
The formulation process involved the NRG task force, together with standardization and certification experts plus consultants and all stakeholders. The standard was tested on farmers plantation and producers. The result was some farmer’s plantations and producers had met certification standard of The Lestari and were allowed to bear Lestari label.
Admittedly the investment for obtaining certification of The Lestari was not small, it also meant extra cost to industry circles. Somehow such was not only experienced by Indonesia, but also tea producers in the world “Because the European market demand tea which is sustainable, so we strive to establish the Lestari standardization system. Or else, Indonesia’s tea market would be taken by other countries.”
Although Indonesia’s tea had obtained the Lestari Certificate, the price at international market only were only priced at premium price 5% of normal price for a year. The condition was dilemmatic because the money spent by the industry to obtain the Lestari Certification was not ignorable.
“At least the cost for certification was paid off by surcharge for a year. We expect that in time to come the international market would accept Lestari tea products from Indonesia.”
Meanwhile Cathalia F. Randing, Quality Manager of Sari Wangi Group stated that up till now only one brand of the Sari Wangi range which had obtained the Sustainability certificate. “So far only one of our brands had been Lestari certified. In the future we hope that all of our products would obtain the certificate.”
To obtain the certificate was not easy, because the standard and criteria were based on the grievances of international buyers. Moreover, the specific meaning of sustainability itself was getting higher because buyers urged producers to adopt the certification system. The trend strengthened since the emergence of Ethical Tea Partnership in 2007 adopted by certification bodies like UTZ and Rain Forest Alliance.
To illustrate, the requirement for obtaining certificate include no excessive use of pesticide and must be withed accurately, laborers wages must be in accordance with regulations, water consumption must be efficient and mush more.