Demand for tea has increased in the country and there also demand for Bangladeshi tea abroad. So, we have to increase tea exports after meeting local demand, said Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi.
He made the comments while he presided over a meeting on the development of the tea industry at his office on Sunday. Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmed was also present at the meeting.
The commerce minister said, "Once, tea was one of the most important export products of Bangladesh, and there is huge demand for Bangladeshi tea in many countries; including the United States, Pakistan, and Middle Eastern countries."
He further said Bangladesh has to research more to increase the production of tea and invent new species of it. "At the same time we also have to increase the number of tea gardens," he added.
Tipu Munshi said the owners of tea gardens must come forward in this regard, while the government will keep helping to develop the tea industry in the country. The government has undertaken a development roadmap which is being implemented to develop the tea industry.
The government has set a target of producing 140 million kilogrammes of tea in 2025, said the commerce minister.
He also called for earnest help for tea garden owners to implement the development roadmap for the tea industry.
He said, "Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was the chairman of the first Bengali tea board from June 4, 1957 to October 23, 1958. He launched extensive measures to develop the tea industry in the country."
"Demand for tea is increasing daily. Because of that, its export is not increasing as expected. We have to increase tea exports by increasing its production," he added.
According to the commerce ministry, around 96 million kilogrammes of tea were produced in 167 tea gardens on 2.78 lakh acres of land in the country in 2019. The local demand for tea at that time was 95.2 million kilogrammes.
Commerce Secretary Dr Md Jafar Uddin, Bangladesh Tea Board Chairman Major General Md Zahirul Islam, Additional Secretary of Commerce Ministry (Export) Md Obaidul Azam, Bangladesh Tea Association M Shah Alam, Joint Secretary of Commerce Ministry (Export) Zinat Ara, among others, were also present at the meeting.