Empowering Communities: Stakeholders Meet on Renewable Energy solution for Sustainable Future of the Tea Garden Community of North Bengal

KolkataSwitchON Foundation organized a stakeholder meet to bring together key stakeholders relevant to the ecosystem strengthening of the small tea growers and tea garden communities of North Bengal to delve into the diverse facets of renewable energy solutions, green job promotion and socio-economic development of these communities.

The stakeholder meeting was held at Williamson Magor Hall, Bengal Chamber Commerce Industry, Kolkata. Notable attendees included Shri S. Soundararajan, Director-Development of the Tea Board of India; Svati Bhogle, Founder-President, CLEAN; Bijoy Gopal Chakraborty, President, Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers Association (CISTA) and other key stakeholders from Indian Tea association, and some Renewable Energy Technology Suppliers.

Attendees from International organizations like Solidaridad Network, Practical Action Consulting and relevant industry representatives also joined the event.


The Stakeholder meet focussed on exploring the potential and adoption of renewable energy technologies and sustainable livelihood practices by local communities in improving living conditions, deliberating around the green jobs prospects among local youth. Two roundtable sessions dealt with deploying renewable energy Solutions in the tea estates for workers and harnessing decentralized renewable technologies across the tea value chain. The sessions dealt in detail on the technologies like solar power systems, biogas systems, improved cook stoves, solar water heaters, solar dryers, solar water pumps, solar power sprayers, and energy-efficient lighting which could impact the lives of the small tea growers. The existing schemes and linkages at various levels were also discussed to ensure the successful implementation of the project.

Mr Vinay Jaju, Co-Founder of SwitchON Foundation said “Adoption of solar power systems, biogas technologies and other sustainable practices will not only improve living conditions but also create a ripple effect of positive change.” He further added, “Renewable Energy solutions have proven to double farmer income, improve standard of living and by bringing together stakeholders from various sectors, we hope to accelerate the adoption of distributed renewable energy, positively impacting both livelihoods and the environment.”

Dr Svati Bhogle, Founder-President, CLEAN said, “Implementing renewable energy in the tea value chain holds significant potential for a sustainable change for multiple small tea growers, particularly empowering women entrepreneurs. By integrating renewable energy solutions, the tea industry can create a more resilient and equitable ecosystem for those involved in the cultivation and production processes.”

To address the challenges of small tea growers in terms of technical knowledge on agriculture, inadequate irrigation facilities, dependency on fossil fuels along with socio-economic issues like low wages, poor working conditions, and limited access to education and healthcare, SwitchON Foundation is implementing a project in North Bengal with Tea Industries and small tea growers. The project will focus on enhanced access and adaptability around a suitable basket of renewable energy based technology solutions tailored to the community's needs towards dignified living conditions and diversified livelihood choices. These solutions will include energy security, enhanced safety and security, improved educational and vocational skills around green jobs for future generations.

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