Since we focus on our women farmers throughout the entire year, we shift our focus on International Women's Day to another part of our value chain. This #IWD2021, we accepted the #ChooseToChallenge and highlight another way in which we embrace gender equality throughout our model. We take you behind the scenes to the work of one of our corporate sponsors, woman-owned Chixotic, who donates a portion of all proceeds to The Harvest Fund. This #InternationalWomensDay, consider your value chain and accept the challenge to evaluate equality throughout your business model.
Nigerian-American Chinonso Okehie launched Chixotic in 2019 with the mission to enrich the lives of tea lovers with unique and authentic African tea while concurrently supporting the livelihoods of African farmers.
Lagging just behind China and India, Kenya leads as one of the top five tea producers in the world. Not only that, the country produces high quality tea with distinctive taste. Kenya cultivates some of the world’s most flavorful tea due to its tropical climate and its deep, rich soil which naturally contains high mineral content that allows tea leaves to flourish. Why not share this delicious tea with the rest of the world? That’s Chixotic’s mission!
Approximately 12% of Kenyans rely on tea production for their livelihoods and the smallscale farmers produce the majority of Kenyan tea. These farmers have a vested interest in using clean and sustainable tea farming methods in order to protect their farms and communities. They also put great effort in producing the best quality tea in order to stay competitive in an industry already saturated by bigger international markets. Why not bring their efforts to the forefront? That’s one of the goals of Chixotic and its founder.
Chixotic founder, Chinonso, has always had a passion for authentic tea coupled with a desire to make a positive impact on the lives of African farmers. In 2017, she embarked on a trip to Kenya with a mission to uncover what it takes to produce tea. Chinonso built a partnership with the Kenya Tea Department Agency (KTDA) which is owned by smallscale farmers yet responsible for over 60% of tea produced in Kenya. She visited various tea farms to connect with the farmers and learn all there is to African tea production. Chinonso's tea farm experience opened the gateway to pursue her passion in life. She made a commitment to give tea consumers a golden opportunity to experience the goodness of African tea while supporting and empowering African farmers, many of whom are women who have limited opportunities for attaining financial stability.
Chixotic products are both fair-trade certified and rain-forest alliance certified. The brand is a strong advocate for fair labor practices which ensures that farmers are provided with safe working and living conditions, decent wages and healthcare access. Since tea is a major source of income in Kenya, Chixotic values the sustainable maintenance of the environment and natural resources used to grow Chixotic tea. Working with Rainforest Alliance Certified tea farms ensures that the farmers utilize methods that support the three pillars of sustainability: social, economic and environmental.
Chixotic partnered with The Harvest Fund because of its mission to cultivate independence for marginalized African women in agriculture. Growing up in Nigeria, Chinonso’s grandmother as well as many other women in her life relied solely on farming as a main source of income. Africa has the highest poverty rate in the world. Living under this burden, African women have few opportunities to gain financial freedom. As an African woman, Chinonso deeply appreciates the opportunities that The Harvest Fund provides for African female farmers. As an African female entrepreneur, Chinonso leverages Chixotic’s business model to give back by donating a portion of all proceeds to The Harvest Fund.
Curious to try some of Kenya’s delicious tea? Visit Chixotic's online shop to buy a bag of Chixotic’s Purple Tranquilitea, a premium specialty purple tea which research has proven to contain more antioxidants than green or black tea. Sounds like a great deal - taste, nutritional benefits and impact!