The Organic Tea at the feet of the Himalayas

Like most Asian countries, even in Nepal, the tea consumption is an important part of every person’s daily life.
In the extreme eastern part of Nepal, on the border of the Indian district of Darjeeling, there is a region called Ilam which is famous for the production of tea with high quality standards.
 All the tea consumed within the country comes from this region, and in recent years this expanding market has seen the affirmation of small companies that export this product outside the borders of the small Himalayan state.
 One of the most famous companies born in recent years is surely the Gorkha tea Estate, located in a village called Sunderpani, which in addition to the production of a completely organic tea, introduced some innovations that improves the daily life of the many poor peasants of the area.
 The Gorkha Tea Estate is one of the rare companies which produces organic tea in a natural way without the addition of chemical pesticides that would alter the chemical structure of the soil, affecting the quality of the final product.
 This company produces different types of tea, such as green tea, white tea and black tea, which are not only exported to European countries, but also sold in the national territory.
 The process of production of the tea adopted by this company, although natural, is quite long and complex.
 Once the tea leaves are collected from the crops of the nearby areas, they are brought inside the factory for quality control.
 Then the tea leaves are distributed over long containers with ventilation which reduces their moisture content.
Once this process is finished, the leaves are introduced into a machine that will start the “rolling”, in other words the circular rubbing that is used to release the aromas of the plant.
 After this process, the fermentation begins, which depending on the duration, will determine the different qualities of the tea.
After the separation of the different qualities of tea, they will be further dried to keep the aromas intact and passed in a machine for the splitting of the leaves by size, before proceeding to the final packaging.
 The real newness, however, is not only in the complete organicity of its tea or in its production process, but especially in the marketing policies adopted for the improvement of the life of the farmers in the area.
 To convince its growers not to use chemical agents that would increase the production and therefore their revenues, the owner of the company, Udaya Chapaghain, has slightly increased the price of sale of tea leaves, offering a better price compared to the standard market. Besides, he has decided to protect his employees with a basic health care, which is quite rare in the world of agriculture in Nepal.
 To further improve the living conditions of its growers, he developed a project of “Home Stay”, contributing to the renovation of the houses of the poorest peasants.
With this project, the farmers will be able to host the tourists interested in the visit of the company and the tea gardens, earning directly the money for the service of overnight stay. One of the better innovations introduced by the Gorkha Tea Estate is especially the gender equality within the company, which in Nepal is quite difficult to find due to the deep-rooted Hindu culture, where the woman has always had a marginal role in respect of man.
In fact, within the company the female figure is present in all sectors, from the collection of leaves to the production and administrative roles.
 The policy against chemical agents, the high standards of quality and innovations adopted in social marketing by Gorkha Tea Estate, makes the Nepali company an example of how eco sustainability and the improvement of human conditions is reflected on the working environment and the quality of the final product.