As a 15-year-old boy, Deepak Prakash Banskota didn’t know he would eventually create the Kanchanjangha Tea Estate (KTE). His vision for raising the standard of living in Phidim, a small village in eastern Nepal, was inspired by a trip to Darjeeling he took as a young boy. Delighted by the serenity he found in the beautiful tea gardens that blanketed Darjeeling’s hills, he noticed the tea workers’ high standard of living. Witnessing the potential for community empowerment in Darjeeling led him to establish a tea factory in his home village. KTE still exists today.
We are pleased to collaborate with Nepal Tea, founded and run by Nishchal Banskota (Deepak’s son), which is the exclusive U.S. importer of teas grown at KTE. You’ll find many of their teas, like Organic Nepali Oolong and Organic Nepali Silver Needles in our online shop.
How can you help support tea farmers in Nepal?
While the tea farmers at KTE continue to pluck amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, Nepal Tea has recently established The Farmer's Emergency Fund to provide support for the tea workers at this challenging time. In addition to ensuring they receive consistent daily wages, the Fund will also cover necessary healthcare costs and help provide daily essentials like rice, salt, and oil. All proceeds donated will benefit the farmers, and all administrative costs will be absorbed by Nepal Tea.
How are tea workers in Nepal faring during the pandemic?
Many of our customers have asked how our tea partners across the globe are doing. We recently caught up with our partners in Kumaon (in northern India) and Nilgiris (in southern India). You can read our interviews with them here. We had similar questions for Nishchal regarding the tea workers in Nepal.
We’re excited to report that the workers who pick and process the teas that KTE makes are still hard at work, although according to Nishchal, “strict rules are in place for their safety.” The tea farmers also continue to receive the same daily wage as they did before the government shutdown.
As our other partners have experienced in India, many Nepali people are fleeing cities and moving back in with their families in rural areas like Phidim. “Infections have not been confirmed in the eastern part of Nepal,” Nishchal said. “What is life like in the village? In the grand scheme of things, it hasn’t changed too much. People are still plenty busy on their own family farms.”
Want to read more about how the tea supply chain has been affected? READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH FORBES TO LEARN MORE.
Raj Vable, Founder
He has been confounded by the leaf since his first transcendental encounter with white tea in 2010. Three years later, he started Young Mountain Tea to bridge his budding tea obsession with his interest in traveling in the mountains and previous experience creating job opportunities in rural India. He revels in working across cultures and can be regularly found trying to get the rest of the team on board with another outlandish tea project. His favorite teas remain white, and he’s always searching for the next cup of magic.