History of Bangladesh Tea Industry dates back to 1840 when a pioneer tea garden was established on the slopes of the hills in Chittagong where the Chittagong Club now stands. First commercial tea garden was established in 1857 at Mulnichera in Sylhet. During the partition in 1947, Bangladesh (the then East Pakistan) owned 103 tea estates, covering 26,734 hectares of tea plantation with annual production of 18.36 M. Kg with a yield of about 639 Kg per ha. Home consumption was around 13.64 M. Kg up-to 1955. After that home consumption went up rapidly and Government imposed 3% mandatory extension of tea area per year in 1961. Ten years later by 1970, tea area was extended to 42,658 hectares and production was increased to 31.38 M. Kg.
During liberation war in 1971, our tea industry suffered colossal damages which resulted in poor management, high vacancies, insufficient inputs, dilapidated factory machinery, inadequate maintenance etc. leading to lower yield and poor quality of tea. But the industry soon got a big push on behalf of the government through a massive development program (BTRP-1980-92) with the financial and technical assistance of the British ODA and EEC and production increased to 60.14 million kg with per/ha yield of 1150kg in 2005.
History of Bangladesh Tea Board:
Bangladesh Tea Board is a statutory body constituted under the Tea Ordinance 1977 to regulate, control and promote the cultivation and sale of Tea in Bangladesh. Tea industry in this part of the sub-continent was controlled by the Indian Tea Cess Act, 1903 till partition in 1947. An eleven member Pakistan Tea Board with a five member Pakistan Tea Licensing Committee was constituted in 1951 under the Pakistan Tea Act, 1950. This Act was repealed by the Tea Ordinance 1959 and an eleven member Tea Board with the provision of a five member Tea Development Committee was constituted. After the independence of Bangladesh, Tea Ordinance, 1977 was promulgated constituting Bangladesh Tea Board of three whole time members with the provision of an Advisory Committee to be formed by the Government with not more than twenty five members. Later the members of the Board were raised to eleven by the Tea (Amendment) Ordinance, 1986.The Head Office of the Board was in Dhaka till it had been transferred to Chittagong in 1984.
The main functions of the Board are as under:
- To regulate, control and promote the cultivation, sale and export of tea.
- To control and improve the quality of tea.
- To conduct comprehensive scientific and technological research to raise productivity of tea and improve its quality.
- To register tea estates with the Board and grant licenses to the planters, manufacturers and other dealers engaged in the business of tea.
- To assist establishing new tea gardens and improving productivity of existing tea gardens.
- To undertake welfare measures for tea garden laborers and employees.
- To undertake, acquire or manage any tea concern or to take such measures in the interest of the tea industry as directed by the Government, from time to time.
Bangladesh Tea Research Institute (BTRI):
BTRI is the research wing of Bangladesh Tea Board engaged in conducting comprehensive scientific, technological and economic research for the Tea Industry. It has provision for 182 personnel including research and technical staffs. It was initially established by the Board in 1957 at its present location in Srimongal as Research Station to provide technical support to the Tea Industry and subsequently was converted into a full-fledged Research Institute in 1973. Now it has three major research departments with six divisions as under Department of Chemistry comprising Soil Chemistry and Biochemistry Divisions. Department of Crop Production, comprising Botany and Agronomy Divisions. Department of Pest Management- comprising Entomology and Plant Pathology Divisions. It has two more research divisions namely, Tea Technology Division and Statistics-Economics Division.
Project Development Unit:
Project Development Unit (PDU) is a wing of the Tea Board acting in the field of development with a separate office at Srimongal. It was established in 1980 as a component of the Bangladesh Tea Rehabilitation Project (1980-92) implemented with financial and technical assistance of Overseas Development Agency (ODA) & European Economic Committee (EEC). Its manpower with 51 posts was absorbed in the revenue budget of the Board in 1988.The Board undertakes various development activities such as, preparation and implementation of development projects, assisting the tea estates in preparation and implementation of development schemes, monitoring of development activities of the tea estates, providing advisory services to the estates for dissemination of improved technology, imparting training to the management personnel of the tea estate, implementation of various labor welfare programs etc through PDU.
Source: Bangladesh Tea Board. For further details please visit the web portal.
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