We, Vivek Lochan and I, left from Siliguri to Doke Tea Garden the 24/04/2007, at 6 AM.
At 9h30 AM, after travelling by bus, we arrived at the garden.
We first evaluated the damage caused by the storm of the 22/04/2007, which has destroyed Mr Biswakarma’s house. The reconstruction was on the way – some people were working on it.
During the time I was taking picture of the damages, Mr LOCHAN Vivek was checking the employee’s name and age in order to complete the administration requirement of Lochan Tea Limited. Indeed, the government needs to know the name of the persons that are working and their age. A majority of employees didn’t know their date of birth, that’s why we’ve calculated the approximate date from their age.
Then we made a walk around Doke Tea Garden.
The noun “DOKE” comes from the river of Doke, which runs besides the plantation. Doke’s garden is a 10 years old plantation, spread on 26 hectares. The site employs around 30 people, in a region where unemployment seems to be high. The main advantages for the tea production are the shadow created by the entire tree’s plantation, which mainly protect tea shelves from sun aggressions, and the river has proximity, that feeds the ground field in a regular way, supplying it of water. The tea plant has not suffered from the storm, but at the contrary benefits from its water contribution. One problem is that some part of the exploitation is touched by dryness, testifies the easily visible red spot to them on surface. Even if the irrigation system seems to be generally rightly divided through the field, this damaged could cause deterioration in the tea’s quality.
Three harvests are envisaged during the year. The first one begin the 27/04/2007, 20 persons will plug in the tea during around one week. Then will comes second and third flush. Doke’s plantation is very productive: around 75,000 kg of green tea leaves a year. It takes 4.5kg of leave to make 1 kg of tea, which makes a production of around 16,000 kg of tea. But Lochan Tea Limited holds a high quality policy, that’s why the best tea is selected to assure a greater taste.
One of the great originality of the garden’s sales is the redistribution of the benefice for the Indus Foundation, association for the education of young people. 5 $ of each kilo of Doke tea sold is redistributed to the foundation. Moreover, buyers of Doke’s tea engage themself to give a minimum of one dollar per kg bought. That’s make part of the trade fair engagement of Lochan’s spirit.
I’ve been glad to discover the Doke garden, to see how was the garden, his way of being cultivated, who was working there…but must of all, I have discover a new environment which has nothing to deal from France and what I’ve never seen before, field of bananas trees, pineapple, terms of employment, yield and capacity of the garden…were for me things totally unknown. With the company of Mr Lochan and Biswakarma, I had had the opportunity to ask many questions, as personal as professional, which make this day a very instructive one.