"The multiple roles of soils often go unnoticed. Soils don’t have a voice, and few people speak out for them. They are our silent ally in food production."José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General, UN International Year of Soils 2015
Situated on the steepest slopes at the foothills of the Himalayan range, Makaibari suffers from poor topsoil. Indeed, every year, during the monsoon season that lasts for about three months (from June to September) most of the topsoil gets washed away with the runoff from the slopes. In fact, as visiting delegate from the Tea Board of India once commented, “My goodness! You guys grow tea on rocks!” We pride ourselves on having devised one of the most effective ways of preserving and enhancing our topsoil, with a little help from our friend – the forest.
We have developed an advanced mulching system through a six tier permaculture, where the tea grows cheek in jowl with grasses, weeds, repellents, leguminous plants, fruit trees and the forest – all helping to replenish and rejuvenate our precious topsoil. So, we are not kidding anyone, when we say that soil management is our core business – and a means of survival in this hostile, albeit stunningly beautiful environment.
Yes, we also grow tea, conserve the forest, but also we engage in applied research that affects all aspect of our existence.