Drought affects growth of tea leaves in Panchagarh

27 April 2014
Drought affects growth of tea leaves in Panchagarh

BSS, Rangpur :
The prevailing drought like situation for lack of rains during this dry season has severely affected normal growth of the tender tea leaves now in the gardens and smaller tea fields in Panchagarh.
The green tea leaves are facing growth problems in the gardens and smaller tea fields where the farmers are trying to provide irrigation though the situation will improve soon after rainfalls, farmers and official sources said.
Due to no rainfall during the past few months, normal growth of the tender tea leaves and growth of the newly pruned branches and saplings have been severely affected in the gardens in recent weeks in the sub-Himalayan district.
According to Bangladesh Tea Board (BTB) sources, 10,000 workers, including 7,000 distressed women, have been working now in the large, medium and small sized tea gardens and tea estates in Panchagarh.
Tea Development Officer of BTB at its Panchagarh Regional Office Amir Hossain said moderate rains during the months of February and March are required for excellent growth of tea plants and leaves.
But, there were no rains so far in recent months following changed behaviour of the weather caused by the climate change impacts in the sub-Himalayan district as elsewhere in the region and the globe as a whole, he said.
According to BTB sources, a total of 1.455 million kg high quality tea was produced in Panchagarh and was sold in Chittagong auction market at about Taka 300 million in 2013 with selling rates between Taka 175 and 225 per kg.
Tea in now being cultivated on over 3,110 acres land including 866 acres of 405 small-scale farmers, 163 acres of 15 medium- scale farmers and 2,081 acres of 21 bigger tea estates in Panchagarh.
As a result of drastic reduction in production and supply of green tea leaves due to prolonged drought, processing of tea leaves is being severely hampered now at all six tea processing factories in Panchagarh.
Manager of Dahuk Tea Estate at Buraburi area in Tentulia upazila Yasin Ali told BSS that they are failing to provide adequate irrigation to their tea garden to cope with the drought like situation.
As a result, the drought like situation has affected growth of the tea leaves and the growing tea plants are being attacked by red spider pests, he said and feared that their tea production target would not be achieved this year.
Talking to BSS, small-scale tea farmers Mozahedul Hassan, Abdur Rahman, Esahaq Ali Mandal and Mostafa Jamal Raju requested the government for making adequate arrangements to provide artificial irrigation for smooth tea farming during droughts.
Tea grower Motiar Rahman called upon the BTB authority for irrigating the dried up tea fields of the small-scale tea farmers as they are unable to purchase the costly machine to irrigate their tea field adopting the sprinkler method.
Manager of Green Care Agro Limited Faridul Islam said they have already suspended tea processing in their factory now for inadequate supply of green tea leaves as they need at least 1,000 kg green tea leaves to keep the factory running at this time of the year.
Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture Extension in Panchagarh Nazrul Islam said the drought like situation with high temperature due to no rainfall in recent months has reduced soil moisture affecting growth of all crops including tea.

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