Meet Assam’s First Organic Tea Farmer Who Also Owns The World’s First Elephant-Friendly Farms
“In the words of Tenzing Bodosa, “If you respect nature, nature will respect you. It is that simple.”
Tenzing’s two farms in Bodoland territorial area of Kachibari village in the Udalguri district of Assam have recently been certified as the world’s first elephant-friendly farms.
But there was a time when Tenzing did not want to become a farmer like his father and grandfather.
He dropped school after class 6. He left his home when he was 10 to work and help his mother, who was looking after their 2-hectare ancestral farm after his father’s death. Tenzing was just 6 years old at the time. He did odd jobs for the first few years and then joined a Malaysian construction company, where he learned to drive, repair machinery, work on the internet and even speak English fluently.
“In those 13 years, I learnt everything – driving, mechanic work, how to control the machinery and how to set up a small factory. This made me gain a lot of confidence to do almost all jobs,” says Tenzing, while speaking to TBI from his farm.
However, as his mother was getting older, she wanted Tenzing to come back home and take care of their farm. And finally, on December 12, 2006, Tenzing returned to his hometown in Assam.
His family used to always grow paddy and vegetables, but by the time he came back, everyone was growing tea in Assam. When Tenzing visited several farms, he came to know that tea could be easily exported and many tea companies were buying tea, making marketing easier for the farmers. Tenzing too decided to grow tea on his farm. But as his family had never grown tea, he had no idea how to do it. Hence, he went to his friends who were growing tea to learn from them.
Most of the tea experts that he met suggested him to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides and advised to buy genetically modified seeds. According to them, this was the best way to get the fastest and highest yield. Being a layman in this field, Tenzing followed their instructions.
But whenever he would spray pesticide on his farm, he would get a headache and feel nauseous.
“My father, grandfather and my mother had never used chemicals on our farm. They always used organic fertilizers made of cow dung and urine. We could not stand the smell of the chemicals. And then I saw that the fishes were dying in my pond. The pesticides were nothing but poison. Everyone starts their day with tea, I couldn’t have fed them poison,” says Tenzing.
Source Meet Assam’s First Organic Tea Farmer Who Also Owns Elephant-Friendly Farms