Environmental principles form a key part of the ETP Global Standard () and we therefore run various training to help producers improve their systems and minimise impact.
In response to calls for help with environmental management we’re using a local partner to deliver training to producers across Assam that supply our members.
The one-day course gives participants an understanding of environmental principles, and highlights best practice in key areas:
- Agrochemical safety
- Soil and water management
- Wildlife & ecosystem protection
- Energy use & waste management
Protecting wildlife (reducing elephant – human conflicts)
In Sri Lanka and India many tea estates are situated in close proximity to areas of natural beauty that support a wide range of wildlife including rare species. Consequently farming practices can have a negative impact on the surrounding environment.
This proximity also means that workers and their families come into regular contact with wild animals and relationships with elephants can lead to difficulties. Estates from the central highlands of Sri Lanka, and those that border the Dehing forests in Assam India have experienced such problems.
When elephants enter estates they can cause damage to crops, food storage, buildings and worker housing, and in extreme cases workers have been badly injured or trampled to death.
Elephants suffer from a loss of habitat, food sources and disruption to their migratory routes, and there are also instances of elephants getting scared by firecrackers, or harmed or killed in retaliatory attacks by workers.
Educating workers and protecting elephants and themselves
In order to help protect both workers and elephants, ETP teamed up with the scientists from the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) and ran workshops for producers from the affected estates.
As well as providing information on environmental management approaches the course also covered elephant ecology and showed practical ways to make estates safer:
- Installing early-warning trip wire systems
- Safe ways to negotiate dangerous encounters
- Changing patterns of food and grain storage to protect buildings
- Advice on insurance schemes for property and crops
The course also showed tea estates ways to help preserve and enhance the lives of the elephant population, which would ultimately lead to more harmonious relationships:
- Keeping traditional migratory routes / corridors clear from obstruction, e.g. removing fencing
- Allowing them to roam freely through estates
- Setting aside areas of natural vegetation for foraging