Twoandahalfweeks in India – pepper and tea production sites supported by PDS

During the stay in the Peermade Development Society we visit many projects, e.g also an organic pepper and a tea production site. From here in Peermade many of these products are delivered abroad, mostly to Germany and USA, but also Australia, Switzerland and Austria.

At the pepper production site
When entering the pepper production site you get immediately the idea of a modern institute. There is a kind of reception, An office part, a laboratory, people wear hygiene clothing.
The huge quality of this pepper production site is certified by many national and international rating agencies, among them also Demeter, Heuschrecke and Bioland.

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At the pepper production site strong rules apply: we get all hygiene equipment before we can see how pepper is dried, quality tested, quashed and finally prepared for deliver. Pepper in brine, different white and black pepper types … Pepper smell all over this rather modern and standardized fabric.
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A traditional tea production site
It takes just a few minutes by walk to reach the tea production site. Here the work surroundings are rather traditional. Standard and organic tea is produced at the same place. Also the tea production is certified.
For people like me who live on another continent, it is interesting to see the entire process:
Normally, women cut tea leaves working on large tea fields. Many women work with small umbrellas on their heads to protect from the hot sun. In these fields there is rarely a shadow place. The tea leaves are collected in huge bags and carried to the production site.
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There it needs to get dried several times. First the leaves are put on large containers, ca. a 30 – 40 cm layer of leaves. Hot windy air comes from the bottom and the leaves start dancing on the band. Here they loose already more than 70% of umidity.
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Along a huge machinery sequence the leaves are cut and further dried. There is always some “tea dust” around and also the rumour – once the machines are switched on – is pretty loud.
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On the other building site mostly women sort out the right wood pieces and carry it to the heating oven that produces the warm air for drying. It is a very hard work, I assume – but these two women just laugh at us and are happy that we are there.
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People in India like to be photographed and if you show them the pictures afterwards they are very excited and happy. During my stay here I had never experienced anything negative by asking them permission to take a photo.
But there is one difference, sometimes: Often Indians smile when they look at you. For a photo the still look directly into the camera, then adjust their clothes and hair and often become more serious – it seems they want to appear more serious on the photo. Interesting, esp. as we Germans are keen to set up the standard smile and to look more relaxed than we are šŸ˜‰
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