Since the English left India in 1947, Darjeeling tea plantations have been abandoned due to their poor condition. Times were very difficult in this region because there was no longer any work and the population didn't receive any help from the government. This critical situation lasted 10 years until local farmers decided to replant. They didn't only planted tea but also fruit trees, vegetables and spices.
In 1977, the Indian government distributed the land equitably to the inhabitants of this region. But the productivity was not good because of other crops such as potatoes and peas.
At the end of the 1980s, the region was in need of road and electricity infrastructure. The NGO DLR PRERNA worked with 3 villages to find solutions to this situation. In 1998, the MINERAL SPRING cooperative was created thanks to the NGO's support work.
Today, 11 villages belong to the cooperative, which represents no less than 573 families who live mainly from the cultivation of tea. Nowadays MINERAL SPRING is the only cooperative in Darjeeling to be certified both organic and fair trade.
An article I wrote about this tea cooperative can be found on this French media.