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18 August, 2015 00:00 00 AM
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Govt mulling roadmap to increase tea exports

UNB

Aiming to develop the tea sector of the country and boost tea production, the government has undertaken a Tk 967.36 crore draft roadmap for the sector under the Vision 2021 framework, reports UNB.
A number of work plans have been included in the roadmap. These include development of the tea gardens and improving the skills of tea workers, development of the under-developed tea gardens, expansion of small scale tea cultivation projects, balancing the factories in the tea gardens
and their modernisation, strengthening the project development units and improve the skills of officials, strengthening the Bangladesh Tea Research Institute, infrastructural development, expansion of the irrigation of tea gardens, augmenting the welfare of the tea labourers and development of management and human resources in the tea gardens.
According to the official document, some Tk 967.36 crore will be needed to implement the 12-year long roadmap in three phases. Of the total amount, it is proposed that Tk 834.80 crore will be secured through loans with favourable
conditions, while Tk 132.56 crore would be in the form of grants.
“The government is extremely keen to increase tea production as Bangladeshi tea has a good name in the world market,” a senior official of Bangladesh Tea Board told the news agency.
He said that the country once earned a good amount of foreign exchange through exporting tea. “But the trend of exporting tea decreased as local consumption increased significantly along with the increase of the total population of the country,” he said, adding that Bangladesh is now a net importer of tea.
“We could still earn a good amount of money by exporting the finest quality tea from Bangladesh as the demand for this type of tea is high in the world market,” the senior official said.
He also mentioned that for producing the finest tea, the tea gardens of the country need some renovation and modernization, as specified in the government’s roadmap.
Apart from the roadmap, a project titled ‘Extension of tea in virgin land of existing tea estates’ is up for approval. Under this Tk 205 crore project, a total of 440 hectares of land, which are eligible for tea cultivation but not in use at the moment, will be brought into use for tea production.
For protecting the local tea producers, the government has increased the supplementary duty on tea import to 20 per cent from 15 per cent in the 2015-16 fiscal. The total amount of tea imported in the 2013-14 fiscal was 14.3 million kilograms.
The tea industry at present is dependent on the local raw materials.  There are 166 tea gardens in the country where 16,204 laborers and 5,761 officials are employed.
Besides, some one million people including the businessmen are directly or indirectly involved in this industry.
The government has taken up various kinds of programmes for the development of the industry. It would like to tap into its potential for earning foreign exchange as in the past, taking advantage of the fact that tea production has doubled from 31.38 million kgs in 1970 to 63.88 million kgs in 2014, according to the official document.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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