13 July 2020
Tea Promoters India was founded 40 years ago with the idea of promoting sustainable human development in tea growing regions of India, and to champion and pioneer organic and Fairtrade movements in the tea sector. 40 years on, this commitment to building intentional and conscious communities in their tea gardens continues to drive their organisation.
Two initiatives driven by Tea Promoters India to support their ethical and sustainable commitments, have focused on the provision of safe sanitation, and managing the conflict created by movement of elephants through the tea gardens. With information kindly shared by TPI, learn more below about Elephantea!, and here about the Safe Sanitation project.
'Our tea gardens in Dooars, Darjeeling and Assam are surrounded by forest reserves which have a large elephant population. The movement of the elephants through the tea gardens and community housing colonies has always created conflict.
To address this conflict, we have conducted awareness programs in partnership with the forest range officers and local NGOS's in these regions to educate our community. We have covered all deep ditches and drains to prevent baby elephants from falling and getting injured. All low lying electricity cables and poles have been removed to prevent electrocution of elephants. We have also created safer pathways that are away from the housing clusters, for the herds to walk through our tea gardens. We have stopped all use of fire crackers in our tea gardens and continue to educate our community on using non-harmful methods to drive the herds away. We have installed solar lighting along all walkways in the gardens to prevent surprise attacks in the night.
To take this program a step further, we partnered with 'Wildlife Enterprise' (WFEN), an organisation that protects wildlife on agricultural lands that lie in-between forest areas, by promoting best convervation practices that assure people and nature coexist and thrive. Together we have launched a Human-Elephant Conflict Management Plan that outlines all our efforts towards protecting our elephant and human communities in the years to come. In 2020, Putharjora, Snowview and Banaspaty became the first tea gardens in Dooars, Darjeeling and Assam to be awarded the 'Elephant Friendly' certification by WFEN.'