70 percent increase in ‘made-tea’ output in a year

RANGPUR, May 07, 2018 (BSS) – Production of ‘made-tea’ increase by 70 percent last year than the previous year in the country’s two northern districts of Panchagarh and Thakurgaon, officials said.

An all-time record quantity of 54.40-lakh kg ‘made-tea’, worth Taka 108.80 crore, was manufactured after processing over 2.45-crore kg green tea leaves produced in 2017, higher by 70 percent than 32-lakh kg ‘made-tea’ manufactured in 2016.

“The ‘made-tea’ output will further increase this year as tea cultivation is expanding fast in Panchagarh, Thakurgaon and adjoining Dinajpur, Nilphamari and Lalmonirhat districts,” Senior Scientific Officer of Bangladesh Tea Board (BTB) at Panchagarh Dr Mohammad Shameem Al Mamun told BSS today.

He said the `small-scale gardening-basis’ tea cultivation on plain lands has become highly profitable inspiring the local farmers to expand tea farming in Panchagarh, Thakurgaon and adjoining districts.

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

Considering excellent growth of tea plants in adjoining Jalpaiguri district of India on the other side of the international broider, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina first launched tea cultivation in plain land of Panchagarh in 2000 and its production continues increasing since then.

Currently, tea is being cultivated on 2,265 hectares of land, including 2,105 hectares in Panchagarh and 160 hectares in Thakurgaon districts, against 1,845 hectares of land last year in these tow northern districts.

Tea is being cultivated in nine tea estates and 18 gardens and vast lands of around 300 small-scale farmers in addition to more 1,600 smaller gardens in these two districts.

“Twelve 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,” Dr Mamun said.

Earlier, 25.21-lakh kg ‘made-tea’ was manufactured 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.

“The BTB is implementing the ‘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 Panchagarh and Thakurgaon districts,” Dr Mamun added.

Talking to BSS, farmer Matiar Rahman of village Sonapatila under Panchagarh Sadar upazila said he began cultivating tea on his 1.80 hectares of land as a small-scale tea grower for the first time in 2002.

“Like many other farmers, I have expanded my tea framing land area. I am cultivating tea on about 18.20 hectares of land now as a small-holder and selling the produced green tea leaves to 12 tea processing companies,” he added.

Small-scale tea farmers Mozahedul Hassan, Abdur Rahman, Esahak Ali Mandal and Yasin Ali said that tea farming has brought fortune to their families along with improving life standard of over 8,500 tea-labourers, mostly females.

Tea-leave plucking female labourers Aklima Khatun, Fahima Begum, Hazera Begum and Aklima Khatun of Tentulia upazila said they are leading better life by earning Taka 180 to 220 per a day as daily wages depending on the quantity of plucked green tea leaves.