Bangladesh Tea Industry An Industry of Rich Heritage. By: Prosanta Laskar


Tea is processed from the leaves or buds of the tea bush. It is one of the most important non-alcoholic beverage drinks worldwide and has been gaining further popularity as an important ‘health drink’ in view of its purported medicinal value. It is served as morning drink for nearly 2/3rd of the world population daily. It is made by steeping the processed leaves in hot water for a few minutes. The flavor of the raw tea is developed by processing including oxidation (fermentation), heating, drying or the addition of other herbs & spices or fruit. Tea is a natural source of caffeine and theophylline & and has a cooling slightly bitter and astringent taste.

Origin of this Industry

Bangladesh has a long rich history of tea cultivation. It was started during the colonial period of British East India Company in 1840 on the slopes of the hills in Chittagong where the Chittagong Club now stands. The first commercial tea garden was established in 1857 at Mulnichera in Sylhet. During the India Pakistan partition in 1947, Bangladesh (the then East Pakistan) owned 103 tea estates, covering 26,734 hectares of a tea plantation with an 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 the Government imposed a 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 the liberation war in 1971, our tea industry suffered massive 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. Besides that, world tea production has been showing an annual increment of 3% while in Bangladesh the production has increased by 1.84 % and contributes 1.37 in export in the word tea trade and earns near about 1775 million Taka (Taka 69 = USD 1.00) every year.

Global Production of Tea 2006 (Million KG) Countries Production (In M. kg)

China 1,028 2. India 956 3. Kenya 311 4. Sri Lanka 311 5. Turkey 142 6. Indonesia 140 7. Vietnam 132 8. Japan 100 9. Argentina 80 10.Bangladesh 53 Total World Production 3533 Million KG.

Global Consumption of Tea

Global Consumption of Tea 2006 (Million KG) Country Consumption (M.Kgs)

Export Market

Tea has been one of the major exportable items of Bangladesh since 1971. We had a captive export market in some countries to export tea. The scenario has been changed in recent years because of the open market economy, the emergence of new entrants in the world market with low priced tea and rapid increase of internal demand. The export of Bangladesh tea in the year 2005 was 9.09 million kg which was 30.66% less than the previous year export of 13.11 million kg. Export earning was 742.62 million takas against 934.04 million taka the previous year. Of the exported quantity 6.57 million kg was sold to Pakistan alone. The Govt. of Pakistan allowed duty-free entry of 10.00 million kg of tea per year from Bangladesh since October 2002 and offered to increase the quota up to 15.00 million kg. But Bangladesh could not utilize that quota fully as increasing internal demand pushes the price levels up in the local auction and discourages exports. Other tea producing countries like India, Srilanka, Indonesia, Vietnam, Kenya, and some other African countries have relative advantages to supply better quality teas at lower prices that make export market extremely competitive for Bangladesh Tea.

Tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world population. Now, different companies are trying to increase their value-added products like cold tea, ice tea, lemon tea, etc. so that tea can be supplemented as cold drinks. Most of the effort has been successful for those who attempt to for this. But most of the countries like Bangladesh, Kenya, and Zimbabwe failed to adapt to the new adaptation of technologies. For this reason, they failed to generate the optimum quantity of tea to compete with the other global tea producing forces. The way this drink getting popularity, the production of such an item failed to meet the requirements.




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here