Contribution to Sustainable Domestic Agriculture

Green tea leaf
Green tea leaf

Contribution to Sustainable Domestic Agriculture

Carry out the Tea-Producing Region Development Project to accelerate the development of high value-added materials and environmentally-friendly agriculture to help revitalize agriculture in Japan

Themes and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Evolution of a unique world-class agricultural model

Area developed through the Tea-Producing Region Development Project

2,650 ha
2,800 ha

Production volume of organic farming

380 t
500 t

Contributable SDGs and Targets









Find out more

Evolution of a unique world-class agricultural model

By perfecting high quality raw materials in collaboration with producers and strengthening relationships of coexistence and co-prosperity, ITO EN aims to contribute to the stable procurement of high quality raw materials and the development of sustainable agriculture in Japan.

The Tea-Producing Region Development Project

As a company deeply involved in agriculture, ITO EN launched the Tea-Producing Region Development Project in 1976 to achieve both the stable procurement of safe, secure and high quality green tea raw materials and solutions to the issues facing Japanese agriculture. This project consists of two different initiatives: cultivation under contract, whereby we purchase all tea leaves produced by contracted local tea farmers, and the new tea farms business, which involves creating large tea farms from abandoned farmland.

Contract farming since April 1976

ITO EN has contracted local tea farmers produce tea leaves used in tea bags and other leaf products, and in beverage products such as Oi Ocha, and purchases all of them.

New tea farms business since January 2001

ITO EN supports local business operators in leading the creation of large-scale tea farms from dilapidated farmland in cooperation with local governments. We comprehensively provide technology and expertise related to the production of tea leaves and purchase the total volume of tea leaves produced exclusively for the Oi Ocha brand.

Support provided and outcomes in Tea-Producing Region Development Project (in Japan)

In the new tea farms business, members of our Agricultural Technology Department have been involved in providing technical guidance, going to tea farms and factories in each tea producing region and providing agricultural production corporations and tea farmers with technology and expertise about tea production and cultivation techniques. One hundred percent of the tea leaves produced in the Tea-Producing Region Development Project are used in products(*), in principle, and this is an important project for ITO EN's procurement of raw materials.

(*) Tea drinks under the Oi Ocha brand, etc.

Tea products such as Oi Ocha Green Tea Tea Bags, Oi Ocha Premium Tea Bags Green Tea with Uji Matcha, One Pot Green Tea with Matcha Tea Bags, etc.

Tea-Producing Region Development Project (new tea farms business) in Australia

Believing we needed to ensure a stable supply of good quality tea to become a "Global Tea Company," we established ITO EN AUSTRALIA PTY. LIMITED in 1994 and launched the Tea-Producing Region Development Project (new tea farms business) in Victoria State, Australia, where the seasons are precisely opposite to Japan and the climate is similar. Like ITO EN in Japan, ITO EN AUSTRALIA PTY. LIMITED works with tea producers to integrate innovative technologies into the cultivation of tea and its employees visit production sites on a regular basis to build relationships of trust. In 2004, we built a crude tea factory and began full-scale production of crude tea. The crude tea produced at this factory is mainly used as a raw material for ITO EN's Food for Specified Health Uses and global brand products.

In a new initiative, we also invested in the construction of a factory for the production of green tea tea bags, which went into operation from 2020. This factory manufactures MATCHA GREEN TEA "TRADITIONAL" (AUSTRALIAN GROWN LEAVES) tea bags for the local market, enabling us to respond to the green tea and matcha boom in Australia. Through this initiative, we will realize end-to-end production (tea cultivation, tea processing and tea product manufacturing) in Australia, meeting the requirements of the Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) Campaign which promotes genuinely Australian locally grown foods, and seeking to contribute to the regional economy.

We will continue aiming to ensure the stable supply of tea all year round to meet growing demand for green tea beverages in the future.

Technical Development to Reduce the Use of Agrochemicals and for Organic Farming

Anticipating that demand in overseas markets will continue to rise, we are developing technologies to reduce the use of agrochemicals and for organization farming. We have started using nitrogen components contained in used tea leaves instead of nitrogen fertilizers that are necessary for growing tea leaves. The used tea leaves generated by outsourced plants during the manufacturing of beverage products are composted for use in the contracted production areas, thereby facilitating recycling-oriented farming.

We will also use an agrochemical-free, steam-operated machine to control pests and eliminate weeds. In this way, we contribute to environmentally friendly tea farming and the expansion of exports of Japanese tea.

Product quality and safety through GAP certification

ITO EN implements initiatives to acquire, maintain, and use GAP certification* as part of the Tea-Producing Region Development Project. We encourage the agricultural corporations and contract farmers which supply us with raw ingredients to acquire GAP certification, which is a standard for ensuring the safe production of food and protection of the environment, and all of these corporations and farmers obtained the certification in the Tea-Producing Region Development Project (as of the end of April 2023). The tea leaves produced by farms that have acquired GAP certification are used as the raw ingredients of Oi Ocha Green Tea and other products. We are committed to ensure the safety and security of our products.

(*)Certification granted to farms that engage in food safety and environmental conservation initiatives. In addition to the Global GAP international standard, other schemes include JGAP and ASIAGAP, which are granted by the Japan GAP Foundation. GAP certification here refers to farms that have obtained one of these three certifications.