Thriving tea sector boosting Panchagarh economy


RANGPUR, July 20, 2018 (BSS) – The thriving tea sector is boosting economy of
the sub-Himalayan Panchagarh district bringing solvency to many farmers as
well as farm-workers improving their life standard and livelihoods.

Beginning from 2000, small, marginal and bigger farmers and investors are
showing interests in tea farming on the plain land in the sub-Himalayan
district as a cash crop.

Officials of Bangladesh Tea Board (BTB) at its Panchagarh regional office
said tea production is showing faster growth changing economic condition of
the farmers as well as farm-workers, including poor women.

“Tea farming continues increasing on `small-scale gardening basis’ in
Panchagarh since beginning of its cultivation in 2000 as thought by the then
Prime Mistier Sheikh Hasina,” said Senior Scientific Officer of BTB Dr
Mohammad Shameem Al Mamun.

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

Tea is being cultivated in nine tea estates and 18 gardens and vast land
of around 450 small-scale farmers in these two districts where production of
‘made-tea’ increased by 70 percent last year.

Dr Mamun said, “A record quantity of 54.40-lakh kg ‘made-tea’, worth Taka
108.80 crore, was manufactured in 2017, higher by 70 percent than 32-lakh kg
‘made-tea’ manufactured in 2016 in Panchagarh.” The ‘made-tea’ production
will further increase creating more jobs as the farmers have cultivated the
crop on 420 hectares of more land this year than last year.

A total of 12 tea companies are processing tea after producing green tea
leaves in their gardens and purchasing the same from farmers to produce
‘made-tea’ in Panchagarh and Thakurgaon to sell the products at Chittagong
Auction Market. “Earlier, 25.21-lakh kg ‘made-tea’ was manufactured in 2015
and 14.21-lakh kg ‘made-tea’ in 2014 against only 1.61-lakh kg in 2005 when
commercial basis tea cultivation began in Panchagarh,” Dr Mamun said.

Currently, BTB is implementing the ‘Expansion of Small Holding Tea
Cultivation in Northern Bangladesh Project’ at Taka 4.97-crore since 2015 to
expand tea farming by more 500 hectares of land within 2020 in Panchagarh and
Thakurgaon districts.

Panchagarh Sadar upazila chairman Anwar Sadat told BSS that the
prospective tea sector was changing socioeconomic condition of the local
people creating huge jobs for the female tea-leaves plucking labourers who
were jobless in the pasts.

“Over 9,000 rural women are now engaged in plucking green tea- leaves in
tea gardens of Panchagarh and Thakurgaon districts as farm-workers to lead
better life with a dream of building better future for their children,” he

Vice-president of Panchagarh Chamber Mehedi Hasan Khan Babla said tea
cultivation has become popular among local farmers enabling them to earn
better profits by selling green tea leaves to enhance economy of these two
sub-Himalayan districts.