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12 December, 2016 00:00 00 AM
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Reviving the tea industry

Revitalising the tea industry is important in terms of its economic, social, employment, environmental, and contribution to many farmers, workers, and consumers
Reviving the tea industry

After the jute sector now plans are set for the tea industry. Though rather late, but it’s good that the government has finally decided to revive our tea industry. According to news reports, the commerce ministry has prepared a 15-year term roadmap to ensure the success of the Bangladesh tea industry in four phases.
In order to implement the proposed roadmap for tea, the Commerce ministry is believed to provide Tk. 967.36 crore following other foreign financial assistance to boost the current tea production of 67.38 million kg to 129.43 million kg by the year 2025. However, the most crucial in this 15-year long roadmap are that – first, the budget must be timely disbursed in correspondence with each of the phases without delay, and second , it must be ensured that due to changes in future governments the roadmap is not anyhow impeded due to unnecessary political decisions or bureaucratic impediments. Furthermore, the short-term, mid-term and long-term phases will have to be rigorously monitored so to guarantee the progress rate. The roadmap sent for being approved to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) should be taken sincerely; otherwise it might delay to obtain financial assistance from foreign donor agencies who would be our future partners to determine the future of our tea industry. Concerning a bad practice, some local importers are reportedly importing low quality tea since local demand is rising. It was good to learn from the sources of our Tea Board, that from now onwards, none can import tea without prior permission from the Tea Board. Easier said than done, the import prohibition will have to be strictly implemented. 
However, the fact is world tea production (black, green and instant) has increased significantly by 6 pc to 5.07 million tonnes following 2013. Bangladesh must seek opportunities to produce more tea for its local market and export destinations.  At present, there are 64,886.25 hectares of cultivable land which are suitable for producing tea, out of a total of 1,14,781.81 hectares of land in the country. However, the plan for selecting another 3,600 hectares of land for the tea sector’s expansion scheme will have to be level-headed and not put much pressure on our limited land resources. 
Other factors that contributed to the present tea sector scenario include low hectare-wise production, lack of development initiatives and replacement of century-old saplings.   Currently, demand for tea is increasing annually at a rate of roughly 5.25 per cent. Only 67.38 million kg of tea were produced from the country’s 162 tea gardens last year. A total of 0.49 million kg of tea was exported while 10.68 million kg were imported last year. The deficit in import-export gap will have to be met strategically and efficiently. 

 

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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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