Tea will be exported abroad after increasing production and meeting local demand, said Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi.
Observing that tea is a potential export product of the country with high demand abroad, he said, "The government has chalked out detailed programmes to increase its production. With an aim to export tea in the near future, its production is being increased, developing new varieties."
The commerce minister said this addressing a discussion marking the 'First National Tea Day-2021' at Osmani Auditorium in Dhaka on Friday, jointly organised by the commerce ministry and the Bangladesh Tea Board.
Tipu Munshi said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was appointed chairman of the Tea Board on 4 June 1956. The government has decided to celebrate National Tea Day on the day. As chairman of the Tea Board, Bangabandhu did a lot for the development of the tea industry and the welfare of tea workers."
Informing that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given directives to increase tea production in the country, the minister said, "Tea production started in the northern part of the country in Panchagarh from 1996. There is great potential for tea production in the northern districts, and farmers are benefitting from producing tea there. Tea production is also increasing in Thakurgaon and Lalmonirhat where it is being produced on flat lands. Its production is increasing day by day."
"As a result of various initiatives of the Prime Minister, the purchasing power of the people of the country has increased more than before. Now the rural population also drinks tea regularly," Tipu Munshi added.
Notably, in 2019, tea production in 167 tea gardens of the country was 96.07 million kg. Of this, six lakh kg of tea was exported. In 2020, the production was 86.39 million kg, and 2.17 million kgs of it was exported. Only a decade ago, in 2011, the country's total tea production was only 59.13 million kg.
Speaking as special guest on the occasion, Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmed said that with increase in demand, tea production in the country has also increased a lot.
He said the government is providing all kinds of assistance to increase tea production in the country. Workers engaged in the tea industry are getting many opportunities. Still, there is more scope to increase tea production in the country.
"Tea production will increase if the necessary support is provided, exchanging views with entrepreneurs in the tea industry. This will further develop the industry," he added.
Before the discussion, Tipu Munshi inaugurated the first National Tea Day, releasing balloons into the air and cutting ribbons. A laser show titled 'Bangabandhu and Tea Industry' was screened at the time. The commerce minister officially released the BT-22 and BT-23 clones of improved tea.
Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh presided over the discussion also addressed by, among others, Senior Secretary Dr Md Zafar Uddin, Bangladesh Tea Board Chairman Major General Mohammad Zahirul Islam, FBCCI President Md Jasim Uddin, President of Bangladesh Cha Sangsad, M Shah Alam, and President of Tea Traders Association of Bangladesh, Shah Moin Uddin Hasan.