The government has taken a small-scale initiative for production of tea in greater Mymensingh in a bid to fulfil increasing demands of tea in the country.
For this, it has undertaken a Tk74.47-crore project for tea production in 1,235 acres of land in the region.
The Bangladesh Tea Board on Monday planted a high yielding BT-2 variety of tea sapling at Sarishabari Upazila in Jamalpur.
To meet the increased demands, the Tea Board has a goal to produce one crore kilogrammes of tea by 2020 and 3 crore kilogrammes by 2030. With this three crore kg from the small-scale projects, the total tea production in the country will be 14 crore kilogrammes against a demand for 13 crore kilogrammes.
Mohammad Shameem Al Mamun, Bangladesh Tea Board senior scientific officer and also director of the project, told The Business Standard (TBS), "We have conducted a survey in the greater Mymensingh region in two phases. After getting a positive response, we have taken a small-scale initiative to produce tea here."
We have conducted a survey in the greater Mymensingh region in two phases. After getting a positive response, we have taken a small-scale initiative to produce tea here
"The initiative will create job opportunities in the districts of greater Mymensingh as well as will open a new horizon in the economic development of the country," he added.
The project titled 'Development and Expansion of Small Holding Tea Cultivation in Greater Mymensingh' has recently been submitted to the commerce ministry.
Under the project, tea will be cultivated in 125 acres of land in Sarishabari, Bakshiganj and Sadar upazilas of Jamalpur district.
Panchagarh is the pioneer in small-holding tea cultivation. It is now becoming popular in other districts.
The Tea Board also said a feasibility study done in 2004 and 2019 shows that it is possible to cultivate tea in a total of 13,645 acres of land at 15 upazilas of five districts of greater Mymensingh. If this land is brought under tea cultivation, 16.37 million kilogrammes of tea will be produced annually in this region.
The initiative will create job opportunities in the districts of greater Mymensingh as well as will open a new horizon in the economic development of the country
The feasibility study done in 2004 here shows that the soil quality and climate of this region is very suitable for tea cultivation. Tea cultivation is possible in 10,050 acres of land in total.
Of these, 1,120 acres are in Mymensingh's Haluaghat area, 1,150 acres at Sreebardi upazila, 1,855 acres at Jhenaigati and 2,500 acres at Nalitabari of Sherpur district, 600 acres in Jamalpur's Bakshiganj and 1,050 acres in Netrokona's Durgapur.
The survey in 2019 shows that 300 acres of land in Muktagachha, 500 acres in Phulbaria, 400 acres in Bhaluka of Mymensingh and 600 acres in Madhupur, 500 acres in Ghatail and 500 acres at Sakhipur of Tangail are suitable for tea cultivation. There is potential for small holding tea cultivation in another 2,800 acres of land in this area.
A report by the Tea Board says that there are 101,072 hectares of tea-cultivable land in Sylhet, Moulvibazar, Habiganj, Chattogram, Panchagarh, Rangamati, Bandarban, Khagrachhari, Thakurgaon, Nilphamari, Dinajpur, Lalmonirhat, Jamalpur, Mymensingh, Sherpur, Netrokona, Tangail and Cox's Bazar.
A source at Bangladesh Tea Board told TBS that as consumption of tea has now exceeded the production, the country has to depend on imports. In 2018, consumption of tea was nine crore kg against 8.21 crore kilogrammes of tea production in the country.
The government started tea cultivation in Panchagarh, outside the traditional tea gardens in the country, in 1999. The production started here in 2002.