For a considerable period, Bangladesh has primarily focused on meeting its domestic demand for tea. However, over the past couple of years, there has been a positive trend where the production of tea in the country has gradually increased, aligning with a simultaneous growth in exports.
According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), during the period of July to December in the fiscal year 2023-24, the export of tea from Bangladesh reached a value of $1.67 million. This figure exceeded the set target of $1.21 million, showcasing a significant growth of 54.63% compared to the previous year.
During the same period of the corresponding year, tea exports amounted to $1.08 million. In the previous fiscal year, Bangladesh achieved tea exports totaling $2.34 million. For the ongoing fiscal year 2023-24, the country has set a target to further increase tea exports to $2.50 million.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh has achieved a significant milestone by producing 10 crore kg of tea in a year. This marks the highest production in the 170-year history of tea cultivation in the country. Currently, the total production of tea in Bangladesh in 2023 was about 10.20 crore kg.
Major General Md. Ashraful Islam NDC, PSC, Chairman of Bangladesh Tea Board (BTB) told the Daily Messenger “The planning for the tea industry involves a long-term perspective, and measures have been implemented to enhance tea production in accordance with the Ministry’s plan since 2017. The adherence to instructions and strategic planning has contributed to the notable increase in both current tea production and export figures.”
On the other hand, the government is providing 4 percent cash incentives to the tea exporters which also triggered to increase the export, he added.
Also, currently, the tea cultivators are being provided the plants for free.
Regarding tea export, the exporter doesn’t get the expected price as the global economy is suffering for inflation. Consumers have cut the demands for the tea.
He said, in near future, tea production will increase as the tea board is conducting course to make the cultivator skilled. Though, the volume of tea production has increased but still the quality of the Bangladeshi tea is not up to the mark. “So, we are trying to improve the quality along with the quantity,” Md. Ashraful Islam said.
Besides, we have been able to control the illegal tea traders thus the actual exporters can grow during the years, he informed. Every month the tea production data is collected from a total of 168 gardens in the country. Of this, 130 gardens have been found. This amount will increase when the data of the remaining 38 gardens comes. Earlier in 2021, 9.65 crore kg of tea was produced, which was the record so far.
The Bangladesh Tea Board (BTB) had declared the target for 2025 around 15-20 million kilograms (kg). The highest amount of tea exported in a year was 13.65 million kg in 2002, according to the BTB.
According to Bangladeshi tea grower, China, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Japan and India currently control the global tea market. The cost of production in Bangladesh is high due to various reasons and for this Bangladesh is still lagging far behind, think BTB.
Bangladesh was the world’s fifth highest tea exporting country back in the 1990s, when international demand was high considering the good quality of local blends, BTB said. The country is currently listed as the world’s ninth largest tea producer, responsible for around 2 percent of the world’s total production, according to Bangladesh Tea Association, a platform of tea garden owners. The 166 tea estates across the country cover almost 280,000 acres of land, according to BTB.