This refreshing news comes to us from Kishenganj, India.
Pictures of Darjeeling or Assam come to mind when we think tea. However, in the last 30 years around 200 km away from Darjeeling in the plains of Bihar, a seemingly backward area has cooked up a storm. Starting with a mere 10 acres in 1991, Kishenganj today boasts of a cultivating area of 25,000 acres as of 2019. Kishenganj is now the proud owner of pristine chai bagaans.
It was in 1991 that Raj Karan Dafatari the son of a textile businessman made up his mind to venture into tea because of the area’s geography that matched that of neighboring Bengal. Dafatari had the conviction that he would be successful in making tea a reality in these backward regions of Bihar.
Today, Dafatari not only grows tea but he is also the owner of processing and packaging units that yield him an annual turnover of Rs 10 crore. It all started when Dafatari went to meet the local MP at a tea estate in Siliguri which is in North Bengal. Dafatari says, “I wondered why Kishenganj couldn’t have its own tea garden. After all, Bengal and this place have many similarities such as the temperature and the landscape.”
Dafatari’s father was not very keen on the idea and cautioned his son against experimenting with new things when it came to farming. Dafatari says, “Our family had no association with farming. We did not own any land so everyone was against my decision. But my mind was made.”
As Dafatari’s business, Rajbari tea started out and flourished, it caught the eye of both big and small players who stepped up to the challenge and now approximately 25,000 acres are under tea cultivation in this part of Bihar. Kishenganj, bordering Bengal now produces around 20,000 tonnes of its own variety annually and is a means of earning a livelihood for over 1,000 people.
Image source: KishanGanj