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Tea Plantation in Pakistan

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CPEC route carries potential for tea plantation

https://nation.com.pk/NewsSource/inp
INP
January 23, 2021


ISLAMABAD - China has a big role to play in promoting Pakistan’s tea industry, as potential suitable sites and land for tea cultivation is located alongside the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), says a report published by Gwadar Pro, quoting experts.

Pakistan has identified 64,000 hectares of area as suitable for tea cultivation along the CPEC’s route, according to Dr. Abdul Waheed, Director of the National Tea and High Value Crops Research Institute (NTHRI).

However, tea is currently cultivated on around 200 acres of land only. The area of Shinkiari in Manshra alone produces seven to eight tons of tea annually.

“If we grow tea on 64,000 hectares of land, Pakistan will not only be self-sufficient in tea but will also export tea products to other countries,” said Dr. Abdul Waheed.

Some farmers have already planted tea at various acreage but mostly very low percentage as the market demand for green tea leaf from farmers is very low. No regulatory or management agency is involved to promote tea plantation by farmers. Thus, the progress so far is very slow.

The Planning Commission of Pakistan has recently completed the tea cluster study under the Agriculture Transformation initiative for commercialization of tea in Hazara and Malakand with a view to reduce the ever-increasing tea imports bill and loss of foreign currency drained on tea import.

According to experts, besides reducing soil erosion and forest degradation, the bushy plants of tea can reduce global warming and can help promote eco-tourism in northwestern part of Pakistan. The rise in tea plantation can also lead to large-scale job opportunities in agriculture and industrial sectors.

As potential suitable sites and land for tea cultivation is located alongside CPEC, China has a big role to play in promoting tea on a commercial scale through joint ventures and technical and financial support, they added.
 

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Pakistan has decided to cultivate tea on an area of about 25,000 acres


While pursuing tea plantations on a commercial scale, the government of Pakistan has decided to cultivate tea on an area of about 25,000 acres over the next five years.

“This year we are going to approve a project where we are growing tea on an area of 25,000 acres; we are creating history; we plan to complete the proposed tea plantations over the next five years,” said Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Food Security Jamshed Iqbal Cheema during his visit to the National Tea and High-Value Crops Research Institute (NTHRI) at Shinkiari, Mansehra.

On the recommendation of Chinese tea experts, the National Tea Research Institute (NTRI), later renamed as NTHRI, was set up on 50 acres of land in Shinkiari in 1986. NTHRI is playing a crucial role in promoting tea cultivation in the country.

Out of the proposed 25,000 acres of land, 10,000 are government-owned forests; 12,000 acres are private land where the Forest Department has planted forests while 3,000 acres of land have been identified in Azad Kashmir. During the next phase, the tea plantation would be extended to all tea-cultivable land of the country, as per the government plan.
 

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National Tea and High-Value Crops Research Institute (NTHRI) at Shinkiari, Mansehra.

Pakistan to pursue tea plantation on commercial scale.
 

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CPEC – a hope for boosting tea plantation​


Pak-China collaboration will help reduce huge spending on tea imports



DR MUHAMMAD KHURSHID
February 14, 2022

a view of the diamer bhasha dam photo courtesy cpec chairman lieutenant general retd asim saleem bajwa twitter

A view of the Diamer-Bhasha Dam. Photo courtesy CPEC Chairman Lieutenant General (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa Twitter


ISLAMABAD:
Pakistanis have proved to be real tea lovers not only in drinking it regularly two to three times a day, but also offer it to the visiting guests as the best source of hospitality.

Pakistan is now ranked among the top tea importing and consuming countries with total tea imports valuing at $590 million.
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) reported that Pakistan was among the top seven countries where tea consumption had increased significantly and estimated a rise in per capita consumption of 35.8% from 2007 to 2016.
Tea has emerged as a major import commodity and is draining huge foreign exchange every year, therefore, the government has proposed a tea cluster in the agricultural transformation report published by the Planning Commission in 2020.

Tea plantation and processing have already proved successful in northern Pakistan, however, its commercialisation under the market mechanism needs the attention of decision-makers.

Though the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) has established a tea estate over an area of 50 acres along with green and black tea processing units, with the technical and financial assistance of China, at Shinkiari in Mansehra, it is yet to be adopted by the private sector on a sustainable basis.

During the soil survey from 1986 to 1989, a team of tea experts from Pakistan and China tested 64 sites in Hazara and Swat, and identified an area of around 64,000 hectares for tea planting in Mansehra.

Under the Chinese technical assistance, experts from the Tea Research Institute, Hangzhou, China worked during 1986-89 in Shinkiari and established the National Tea Research Institute (NTRI).

Mandated for research only, NTRI is well equipped and staffed for managing a small tea estate spread over 50 acres as well as green and black tea processing units. NTRI is now serving as a research base for tea culture in Pakistan.

The federal government has also engaged private sector companies for experimentation and commercialisation of tea, however, the pace and quantum of commercialisation has been very slow.

Therefore, unlike other tea-growing countries, Pakistan could not see the commodity’s production on a commercial scale in the past over 35 years since the establishment of NTRI and tea research stations in Shinkiari.

Commercialisation of tea is highly sustainable as it has social, economic and environmental benefits. Major social benefits include job creation for millions of unemployed youth and provision of a healthy drink loaded with antioxidants.

The economic impact includes self-sufficiency in tea production, which will not only help in resource mobilisation at the domestic level but will also reduce the import bill, thereby saving foreign currency.
Environmental benefits are increased oxygen production, controlling soil erosion in the hilly terrain suited for tea plantation, landscape and aesthetic impact on the soil surface, which will attract tourists.
Pakistan did try to commercialise tea in Mansehra, Swat and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) where suitable land was available and a project was also approved by Ecnec in 2007-08.

Under the project, the then government agreed to provide state land on lease to the interested private tea companies on a long-term lease but in the middle of project implementation, the subject of agriculture was devolved to provinces and since then the project has remained shelved.

Availability of a large piece of land spread over hundreds of acres at one place is a real challenge that the government must address as due to land fragmentation such large pieces of land are rarely available with private land owners in the hilly areas.

The options left are either to acquire a large piece of land or lease forest waste lands to the private tea growers.

Another option is cooperative tea farming, which is done in many countries, but that too requires huge support for establishing an industrial base for tea processing.

Pak-China cooperation

Now that China is fully engaged with Pakistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan can easily benefit from the expertise and resources that Beijing possesses as all potential tea growing areas lie on both sides of CPEC route, providing an easy access to markets.

In addition, China has already established NTRI in Shinkiari and it will love to adopt it for a B2B venture in the agriculture sector. The expert, who led the Chinese team during 1986-1989, has expressed his willingness to visit Pakistan again.

At a Zoom seminar, organised by the China-Pakistan Agricultural and Industrial Cooperation Information Platform on June 23, 2021, the participants from Pakistan and China emphasised the need for cooperation in the commercialisation of tea in Pakistan.

The discussion sparks hope that China is willing to support Pakistan in this area too.

The major issue in the way is not the ecological suitability of land for tea production, but the availability of required privately owned land at one place.


Land fragmentation due to successive shares in inheritance has reduced the private ownership of land to a bare minimum, which is not sufficient for establishing a commercial tea estate.
In addition, the storage of water upstream and land development require spending of a huge amount of resources that no one is ready to bear for a crop that may need investment for five years to produce leaves for plucking on a commercial scale.

Latest technology including the tea processing and blending units will also have to be imported to initiate tea processing on a commercial scale.

The way forward is that the governments of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and AJK should identify suitable pieces of waste land of the forest department for long-term lease to the potential tea-growing companies, as that arrangement had already been made under a PSDP project from 2007-08 to 2012-13.

CPEC may provide technical and financial support under B2B or any other suitable mode while the tea cluster approach proposed by the agricultural transformation plan can also be implemented.

The government of Pakistan, K-P and AJK should provide all the required support to the private tea growers, offer at least 10-year tax-free regime for the promotion of tea industry and duty-free import of raw tea for blending, tea machinery, raw material for tea blending and promote exports, which will help the industry to take off.

This way Pakistan may enjoy its home-grown tea on a commercial basis and reduce or even eliminate foreign exchange spending on tea imports.

It is quite possible, given a huge area suitable for tea plantation, to increase production to a level where Pakistan can not only meet its own requirements but can also export tea of high quality.
The writer is a PhD in natural resources management and masters in forestry besides serving as divisional forest officer in K-P


Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2022.
 

dBSPL

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The scent rising from the tea factories may be the most beautiful fragrance in the world. I send my deepest regards to the tea farmers in Pakistan, from another green land. Turkiye is literally a black tea consumption monster. For Pakistani producers, the Turkish market should not be overlooked.

Also, if I need to add something about the tea industry; The most popular topic among tea farmers in Turkiye at the moment is oil production from tea seeds. It is possible to obtain a very effective, useful oil equivalent to olive oil in the field of cosmetics and food. There are also studies on its use among input products in biodiesel production. The use of the tea plant is increasing in many industrial areas and food production. In this sense, tea is becoming an increasingly strategic product in agriculture.
 

ghazi52

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.,.,

High tea imports push Pakistan to enhance local production​

Farmers reluctant to grow tea as it takes 5-6 years for first picking

August 08, 2022


MANSEHRA: “Pakistan has huge potential to become self-sufficient in the tea sector. If we plant tea on an additional 2,000 hectares of land offered by the government and invested by private companies, we can meet 95% of our national demand,” said Dr Abdul Waheed, Director of National Tea and High-Value Crop Research Institute, PARC in an interview with China Economic Net (CEN).

“In collaboration with China, we have done much research, including the National Tea Research Institute, which was built upon the recommendation of Chinese researchers and was later renamed National Tea and High-Value Crop Research Institute. After this, commercialisation should be followed,” he suggested.

Pakistan’s heavy reliance on import of tea is calling for enhanced production capacity. During 2021, Pakistan imported 2,258,000 kg of black and green tea, costing $596 million.

In the first three quarters of fiscal year 2021-22, Pakistan’s tea imports increased 11.95% as compared to the corresponding period of previous year.

“We have 64,000 hectares of land suitable for tea plantation. But now less than 80 hectares are devoted to tea plantation. In the first year, at least we should start from 2,000 to 10,000 hectares under public-private partnership,” he said.

“We have the capacity of 4 million plants per annum, rather than import, we have the capacity. If you look at olive, people wait for three or four years before they get the fruit, but then the oil extracted can be sold at a very high price. The same case applies to tea,” he said.

Regarding legislation, Waheed suggests tea plants be declared as forestry so that they won’t be replaced by other tree species.

“Farmers are reluctant to grow tea because it took at least five to six years for the first picking,” he explained.

“Tea planting can be promoted through cooperative farming and government subsidies. For private farmers, they have their own land and need incentives from the government,” he told CEN.

Providing incentives such as loans free of interest to growers during the gestation period is also a practice adopted by China, a major tea exporter to Pakistan, to motivate new tea farmers.

“The natural law determines the long growth period of tea trees. Through modern technology, we can shorten the period from 7-10 years to 3-5 years, but once the tea leaves are picked, the trees can be in use for several decades,” said Professor Hu Bo from Zhangzhou College of Science and Technology, China, located in a famous city of tea, Zhangzhou.

“But most important of all, when farmers find that growing tea brings much more benefits than other crops, they will choose it. This relies on benign development of the industry,” he added.

Currently, tea growers in Zhangzhou have earned over 35% of their income by selling tea leaves. The local tea industry spans the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors with a wide range of products and services provided, including tea leaves, tea-made food, tea sets as well as tea-based tourism, education and culture.

“In Pakistan, there is also need for a complete link chain for plantation, production, processing and then marketing,” said Waheed, a frequent visitor to China’s tea production bases and universities.

Exchanges with China

Zhangzhou College of Science and Technology, the only foreign aid training base in China that focuses on tea, has trained over a dozen Pakistani participants over the years.

“Pakistan used to have very limited tea varieties. It is through such training that Pakistani participants brought back the technology to grow and process Oolong Tea and red and white tea,” revealed Cai Shiwen, Director of International Department of the college.

China is among the top 10 tea exporters to Pakistan. In 2021, it exported $5.32 million worth of tea to Pakistan and provides 42% of the imported green tea. Meanwhile, it is surprising to find that Pakistan is also exporting tea to China.

According to the General Administration of Customs of China, Pakistan exported over 5,000 kg of red tea and other fermented tea in the first four months of 2022. Not a large amount, but it is still inspiring.

Guangzhou Quality Import and Export General Manager Furqan Mawani told CEN that his company imports over a hundred tons of green and red tea from Pakistan.

Through e-commerce platforms, the products reach wholesalers and end-consumers all over the country.

“Pakistani teas are known for their strong flavourful taste and rich aromas. But another reason why Pakistani tea products have a place in the Chinese market is because of the relationship and bond the two countries share,” explained Mawani.

“People of China and Pakistan are willing to share and get to know about each other’s cultures. As tea is an integral part of Pakistan and China culture, it is inevitable that they are attracted to Pakistani tea.”

As the concepts of milk tea and health preservation are gaining traction among the young population in China, he expects more export of green and red tea from Pakistan.

“The commercial value of Pakistan’s tea, once fully tapped, can be beyond imagination,” Mawani said.

THE ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON THE CHINA ECONOMIC NET
 

ghazi52

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Students from Girls College Gwdar. and GDA School enthusiastically took part in the plantation drive and were extensively briefed on the completed and ongoing projects in Gwadar..


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ghazi52

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The CDA Chairman, Captain (retired) Muhammad Usman Yunus, and the Managing Director (MD) of Mari Petroleum, Faheem Haider, inaugurated the forest by planting saplings in the H-12 Sector of Islamabad. Other CDA officials were also present at the occasion.

The forest covers an area of 17 acres (740,520 square feet). The first 20,000 large-sized saplings of different species have already been planted, while the plantation will continue, making the forest larger gradually. A special protective fence has been installed to protect the plantation.
 
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