Friday, February 15th, 2019

Tea output increases 57 pc in northern districts

Published 9:56 pm | February 15, 2019

As the tea sector is thriving fast, the ‘made-tea’ output marked 57 percent increase last year than previous year in
the ‘Kartoa Valley’ ecological zone comprising of five sub-Himalayan northern districts.

Officials at Panchagarh regional office of Bangladesh Tea Board (BTB)
said 84.67-lakh kg ‘made-tea’ was produced in 2018 which is higher by 57
percent than the output of 54.40-lakh kg ‘made tea’ in 2017 in the valley.

“Tea was cultivated on 7,645 acres of lands in Panchagarh, Thakurgaon,
Dinajpur, Nilphamari and Lalmonirhat districts last year in the valley,” said
Senior Scientific Officer of BTB at Panchagarh Dr Mohammad Shameem Al Mamun.

Of them, tea was cultivated on 2,243 acres of land in nine registered
and 19 unregistered tea gardens and on 5,402 acres of land in 4,450 small-
scale gardens in these five districts last year.

In Panchagarh, 78.22-lakh kg of ‘made tea’ was processed from 3.77-crore
kg of green tea leaves produced on 6,792 acres of land last year.

In Thakurgaon, 6.45-lakh kg ‘made tea’ was processed from 39.07-lakh kg
green tea leaves produced on 742 acres of land last year.

Besides, 115 small growers cultivated tea on 111 acres of land in
Dinajpur, Nilphamari and Lalmonirhat districts last year.

‘Tea farming is expanding fast as BTB is implementing ‘Expansion of
Small Holding Tea Cultivation in Northern Bangladesh Project’ since 2015 at
Taka 4.97 crore to expand tea farming by more 500 hectares of land within
2020 in the valley,” Mamun added.

The `small-scale gardening-basis’ tea cultivation on plain lands has
become a highly profitable venture inspiring the local farmers to expand its
cultivation.

“Following continuous expansion of tea cultivation, production of green
tea leaves is boosting every year in the valley bringing fortune to many
farmers and creating jobs for the poor, especially women,” Mamun added.

“Thirteen tea companies are processing tea after producing green tea
leaves in their gardens as well as purchasing the same from farmers to
produce ‘made-tea’ in Panchagarh and Thakurgaon for selling at Chittagong
Auction Market,” Mamun said.

Earlier, 32-lakh kg ‘made-tea’ was produced in 2016, and 25.21-lakh kg
‘made-tea’ in 2015 and 14.21-lakh kg ‘made-tea’ in 2014 and 14.55-lakh kg
‘made-tea’ in 2013 against only 1.61-lakh kg in 2005 when commercial basis
cultivation began in Panchagarh.

Talking to BSS, bigger tea grower Matiar Rahman of village Sonapatila in
Panchagarh said he began cultivating tea on his 4.50 acres of land as a
small-scale tea grower for the first time in 2002.

“I am cultivating tea on about 52 acres of land now as a small-holder
and selling the produced green tea leaves to 13 tea processing companies,”
Rahman said.

Similarly, small-scale tea farmers Abdul Hakim, Solaiman Ali, Abdur
Rahman and Sekendar Ali of different villages said that tea farming has
brought fortune to their families along with improving standard of living.

Predicting brighter prospect for expanding tea farming in the ‘Kartoa
Valley’ ecological zone, President of Panchagarh Chamber of Commerce and
Industry Abdul Hannan Sheikh said the tea thriving sector is also boosting
economy in the northern region.

(BSS)

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