The hands that grew a brew are now raising fungus for survival in northern West Bengal. Sabitri Toppo and Mausumi Minj are among 700 plantation workers who lost their jobs when the Madhu Tea Estate in West Bengal’s Alipurduar district.
The tea estate is one of 26 in the district’s Kalchini block, many of them in a bad shape due to low yield, quality and labour issues.
“We formed a cluster of women from 50 families, some of them from the closed tea estate, and trained them in organic mushroom farming more than a fortnight ago. We also provided them a permanent mushroom-growing shed and home-delivered spawn,” Binoy Dhar, a farm specialist with the Assam-based Mushroom Development Foundation (MDF) told The Hindu from the Kalchini area.
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