“I reached the garden last Tuesday morning. I was able to visit about half of the divisions, which looked very lush now that normal rain levels have resumed. The beginning of the season was quite dry, which affected the first flush, but might not have any impact on year-end crop after all.
The people at the garden seemed quite happy with the weather, and the look of their bushes. In places where we get more water-logging easily, the division in-charges worried about getting too much rain! They are planning to improve their drainage even further. Since last year, all divisions have built both more extensive buffer zones and compost pits. I had asked them to make this a priority last fall, so it was good to see the very rigorous implementation. The new plantations from last year looked very robust as well. Along with all kinds of other improvements – from plucking to QC in factory – the verdant young tea plants speak of the improved field level management since the arrival of our new COO about a year ago. The team too seems more confident, relaxed and motivated under his very dedicated and knowledgeable leadership.
The highlight of the trip was a visit with a few of our Cattle Co-op members in the Moynaguri division. One of the members I spoke to is now on her fourth loan – having paid off the previous three. Most are on at least a second loan, which speaks of the success of the program for most of them. One member lamented the death of her cattle soon after she took it as a loan. The confidence and satisfaction our members with the program and what it’s done for them is truly hard to convey over a few clicks on the computer. You have to really sit
down with them in their homes and hear it from their mouths: the story is told as much in their eyes and their smiles, as it is in any words that are spoken.
I left the garden on Friday around midnight on the Nilsagar Express Train – Blue Sea Express, a mysterious moniker for a service in the Northern part of the country (the most distant from the Bay of Bengal) – but one that provides a great night’s sleep and a much smoother ride than the road trip!”