Craigmore Plantations (India) Private Limited - A trailblazer for women’s rights and water conservation in India

In 2011, Craigmore Plantations (India) Private Limited was the first tea plantation company to receive GLOBALG.A.P. Certification in India. The company implements good agricultural practices in all its operations and provides specific services to its employees that are widely acknowledged. “ As a pioneer in GLOBALG.A.P. Tea Certification in India we practice environmentally friendly and sustainable cultivation and manufacture on our farms and factories while ensuring the welfare, health and safety of our workforce and the local population,” explains M. N. Bopana, the Managing Director of Craigmore.

The company firmly believes that the most precious resource apart from soil that it has at its disposal is its talented pool of employees. One of the long-term goals of the company is to invest in furthering this talent so that all its employees are proficient in the skills required for the job. A major challenge that the company faced in the past was the severe shortage of trained and skilled agricultural labor for its operations. To overcome this, Craigmore set out on an aggressive recruitment drive where both men and women with families from socially and financially underdeveloped regions of the country were brought in as raw employee talent. After ensuring that these workers with their families settled down in their new environment and were well integrated into the social fabric of its farms, the company commenced its skill development mission, where all these new employees were gradually and systematically trained. “The integration of many new workers and their families required quite some effort from all parties involved. However, it was certainly worth it, as we now have a skilled, homogenous workforce, which comes to work with a smile,” says M. N. Bopana, the Managing Director of Craigmore. Craigmore Plantations provides its entire workforce of about 1500 employees and their dependents with free housing in company built and maintained houses, the standards of which are far superior to statutory requirements.

Craigmore Plantations today employs a large number of women (over 75 % of its total workforce) and ensures equal rights for its female employees. They are paid the same salaries and allowances as their male counterparts, with absolutely no variations in wages based on sex. The company conducts periodical awareness programs on sexual harassment at the work place, women’s rights and AIDS awareness, as well as pre- and post-natal wellbeing. This has enabled Craigmore to reach the UNs Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of “undertaking reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws” well before the target year of 2030.

Despite the fact that the Craigmore Plantations are located in an area with relatively little precipitation (800 to 900 MM per year), the company has also addressed the UN Sustainable Development Goal of “substantially increasing water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensuring sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity” by cultivating tea in a low rainfall area with absolutely no artificial irrigation. It also provides substantial quantities of fresh water for its 5000-strong resident population, for their domestic use. The company does not permit any bore-wells on its plantations to tap underground ground water and is forced to use only water from natural springs and open wells.