Tea production found in Panchagarh and additional northern districts grew considerably benefitting a large number of farmers although the ongoing coronavirus pandemic damaged a great many other sectors of the economy.
Tea cultivation found in the flatlands of Panchagarh commenced in the late 1990s because of its favourable climate and soil but soon expanded to additional districts in the region.
At least 10.30 million kilogrammes (kgs) of tea worth Tk 175 crore was stated in the area last year, according to data from the Bangladesh Tea Board's regional office in Panchagarh.
In 2020, production increased by 7.11 lakh kgs when compared to year before, officials said.
Besides, tea was cultivated on around 10,170 acres of land this past year, a roughly 15 per cent increase compared to 2019.
The country's overall tea production for 2020 was 86.39 million kgs, of which nearly 12 per cent was developed on flatlands in 5 districts of the northern belt --Dinajpur, Thakurgaon, Panchagarh, Nilphamari, and Lalmonirhat.
According to the officials, 7,337 large and small scale tea gardens collectively manufactured 51.28 million kgs of tea leaves last year. There will be eighteen tea processing factories spread across Thakurgaon and Panchagarh.
The tea grown in Panchagarh can be exported to many countries.
Since the district is based on the northernmost area of the united states and shares a border with India, it was largely considered a backwater. Even so, tea cultivation brought an enormous change over the years by creating many job options for locals.
Many farmers remaining paddy and other conventional crop farming to commence tea cultivation because they felt it to be worthwhile.
There are 6,523 large and small scale tea growers involved with the sector around various upazilas of Panchagarh that produce exportable tea over 8,642 acres of land.
There are 1,007 registered tea farmers in Panchagarh, where 10 large scale tea states take into account a lion's share of the area's total production.
In Thakurgaon, 659 tiny scale farmers have been producing tea leaves on 1,293 acres of land for the last couple of years. More than 95 farmers cultivated tea on 112.98 acres of land in Lalmonirhat, while 32 farmers grew tea on 61.09 acres in Nilphamari and 26 farmers developed tea on 61.50 acres in Dinajpur.
Nazrul Islam, a farmer of Polashbari union on Birganj upazila of Dinajpur, once grew paddy over his land but as he incurred losses for quite some time, he made a decision to switch to tea gardening.
He planted tea saplings on his one-acre land in 2015 and started harvesting the leaves three years later.
"I earned Tk 3 lakh found in 2020 by selling 10,500 kgs of tea leaves," said Islam.
"Tea leaf farming is a good lucrative business now," he added.
Nazrul went on to say that many farmers of his village started tea cultivation after witnessing his success.
Suja Ur Rob Chowdhury, president of the Dinajpur Chamber of Commerce and Sector and owner of Sallylun Tea Claims in Panchagarh, said that accomplishment found the tea sector this season seeing that farmers had given their finest amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
The large area of Panchagarh remained uncultivated back in the late 1990s but tea farming changed the district's economy, Chowdhury said.
In addition, it created employment for a large number of folks in the district, especially females.
Chowdhury urged the federal government to extend its support for the developing tea sector in Panchagarh to provide it more usage of international markets.
Dr Mohammad Shamim Al Mamun, director of the Northern Bangladesh Job of the Bangladesh Tea Table in addition to a senior scientific officer found in Panchagarh, said tea development and the amount of land used for it increased last year compared to 2019 as the farmers improved profits.
"We tried our best to provide the highest support to farmers after Covid-19 hit the united states in March this past year," Mamun added.