Dhaka, Bangladesh
Wide-ranging tea production in Panchagarh

Wide-ranging tea production in Panchagarh

Our Correspondent PANCHAGARH, July 11: Production of tea increased by around 70 per cent than that of previous years in country's two northern districts, Panchagarh and Thakurgaon. There has been wide-ranging tea cultivation in nine tea estates and 18 gardens, vast lands of around 300 small-scale farmers, in addition to more 1,600 smaller gardens in two sub-Himalayan districts that contribute to enhancing country's economy, according to official sources. 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 Mohammad Shameem Al Mamun, senior scientific officer of Bangladesh Tea Board (BTB) disclosed. Earlier, all-time record quantity of 54.40 lakh kg made tea worth about Tk 108.80 crore was manufactured after processing over 2.45 crore kg green tea leaves produced in 2017, higher by 70 per cent than 32 lakh kg made tea manufactured in 2016, the source confirmed. at Panchagarh disclosed that made tea output will continue to increase as tea cultivation is expanding fast in Panchagarh, Thakurgaon and adjoining Dinajpur, Nilphamari and Lalmonirhat districts. Dr. Mamun said the 'Small-scale gardening-basis' tea cultivation on plain lands has become highly profitable, inspired by that local growers are expanding 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 for farmers as the changing situation opening job opportunity for the poor, Dr Mamun added. Mention may be made, considering excellent growth of tea plants in adjoining Indian districts Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina earlier encouraged launching tea cultivation on plain land in Panchagarh during 2000. Since then expansion in tea cultivation started and currently, tea is being cultivated on 2,265 hectares of land, including 2,105 ha in Panchagarh and 160 ha in Thakurgaon districts, against 1,845 ha last year. According to earlier record, 25.21 lakh kg made tea was manufactured in 2015, 14.21 lakh kg in 2014 and 14.55 lakh kg in 2013 against only 1.61 lakh kg in 2005, when tea cultivation began on commercial basis in Panchagarh. The BTB is implementing the 'Expansion of Small Holding Tea Cultivation in Northern Bangladesh' project since 2015 at Tk 4.97 crore to expand tea farming by more 500 ha of land within 2020 in Panchagarh and Thakurgaon districts, Dr Mamun detailed. Matiar Rahman of Sonapatila Village in Sadar Upazila said, "I began cultivating tea on my 1.80 ha 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 ha of land as a smallholder 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 tea farming has brought new fortune to their families by improving life standard of over 8,500 tea-labourers. Tea-leave plucking female labourers Aklima Khatun, Fahima Begum, Hazera Begum and Aklima Khatun of Tentulia Upazila in their version said they are leading better life by earning Tk 180 to 220 per day depending on the quantity of plucked green tea leaves. 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.

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