Our tea factory is being built as I write this, and I couldn’t be more excited to see this project becoming a reality!
Since 2002, we have worked with small farmers in the remote Himalayas to grow organic black tea on unusable agricultural land. After organizing farmers into cooperatives, we provided training on plant management and tea processing to move towards creation of Nepal’s first large-scale, jointly-owned factory. Over 155 farmer families share ownership in this social enterprise, and the area’s nascent tea industry stands to benefit thousands of villagers.
Cash crops in the area have proven that people spend their earnings on better education for their children, solar energy for their homes, and household necessities such as shoes, medicine, or a new tin roof. Parshu, our partner in Nepal, has done an outstanding job–successfully tapping government and local resources as well as creating consensus and cooperation among farmers divided by ethnic and socioeconomic differences—all of which is integral to long-term sustainability and peace-building in Nepal.
This processing center will be the only such tea factory in Nepal. Big estates are owned by wealthy industrialists and small micro-processing factories are owned by groups of only 5-10 farmers. Ours is the first of its kind! Despite heavy monsoon rain damaging a wall and washing out the dirt road which is used for materials delivery, construction continues….