Record tea output keeps agro-economy vibrant
An all-time record 17.759-million kilograms (kg) of processed tea worth Taka 284 crore produced in five northern districts last year kept the regional agro-economy vibrant despite the global crises and Covid-19 pandemic.
Officials of Bangladesh Tea Board (BTB) at its Panchagarh regional office said the last year's production of 17.759 million kgs of processed tea is higher by 3.219 million kgs against the production of 14.54 million kgs of the previous year 2021.
"Despite the global crises, tea cultivation on plain lands continued expanding in Panchagarh, Thakurgaon, Dinajpur, Nilphamari and Lalmonirhat districts last year," BTB's Development Officer Agriculturist Md. Amir Hossain told BSS on Saturday.
Owners of nine registered and 21 unregistered tea gardens and 8,355 small holders cultivated tea on 12,079 acres of land in these five districts and produced over 90.274-mn kgs of green tea leaves in 2022.
The produced 90.274-mn kgs of green tea leaves in 2022 is higher by 16.704-mn kgs against 73.57-mn kgs of green tea leaves produced in 2021.
Getting good results, a BTB team conducted a feasibility study in Panchagarh and Thakurgaon districts in 1999 and found 16,000 hectares of land suitable for commercial basis tea cultivation.
"Tentulia Tea Company Limited (TTCL) first started commercial tea cultivation on plain lands in Tentulia upazila in 2000," said Hossain.
Later, other companies and local farmers started commercial tea farming in 2005 ushering in a new hope in the agro-economy alongside creating huge jobs for farm-labourers.
A total of 25 companies operating in Panchagarh, Thakurgaon and Lalmonirhat processed the 90.274-mn kgs of green tea leaves producing 17.759-mn kgs of processed tea in 2022 which is 22.13 percent higher than the production in 2021.
In 2022, the produced 17.759-mn kgs of processed tea in five northern districts stands at 18.92 percent against the total national production of 93.83-mn kgs.
"As per guidance of BTB Chairman Major General Md. Ashraful Islam, we are providing the latest technologies and training to farmers for further development of the tea industry on plain lands in the north," Hossain added.
Tea grower Shahinur Rahman of village Buraburi in Tentulia upazila of Panchagarh said he started `small-scale gardening-basis' tea cultivation on his land seven years ago.
"I am now cultivating tea on 6.50 acres of land and selling green tea-leaves to tea processing companies to earn excellent profits," Rahman said. �BSS