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Bard College

Publication Date

Spring 2011

Program Name

Nepal: Development and Social Change


This paper analyzes the identity of the tea factory as relating to small-holder tea farmers in eastern Nepal as well as the effects of a tea factory’s conversion to organic production on the bargaining power of tea farmers. This research uses both primary and secondary sources, including but not limited to interviews with tea farmers in the Sundarpani area of the Ilam district of eastern Nepal as well as interviews with staff members of Gorkha Tea Estate in the same area. The research findings indicate that though tea factories in the eastern hill region of Nepal act as efficient, expert middlemen which sustain the existence of small-holder, export tea farmers, the conversion to organic production and necessary sublicensing of member farmers gives the factory monopsonistic power, decreasing farmers’ bargaining power. 511, 502, 501


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