The government has taken a number of initiatives to bring new areas under tea cultivation to increase the production and meet the growing demand in the local and international markets, reports BDNEWS.
"Based on a survey, we have sorted out 46,000 hectares of new land in Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachari districts for tea cultivation," said Bangladesh Tea Board (BTB) Chairman Mosharaf Hossain.
Tea cultivation in those new areas is likely to start within the next four to five years, if the government develops infrastructure facilities, he added.
But acquisition of land for tea in those districts will take time, as the land is owned both by the government and the private sector.
However, six small gardens have already come under tea production in the northern region as part of the expansion plan, he further said.
The government has been compensating the small farmers who have lost their lands for tea cultivation in the region, particularly in Panchagarh.
"We have also carried out a survey in Garo areas in Mymensingh," the BTB chairman said.
Although the area is fit for tea plantation, we'll not be able to implement our plan there, as the area belongs to the Ministry of Forest and Environment, he informed.
Officials of the Bangladesh Tea Association (BTA) said they are facing a stiff competition from countries like India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia in tea export due to their integrated efforts to boost the industry.
A tea exporter said Bangladesh has the prospect to capture the tea-market of the Middle East, where exports from the country declined significantly in the past 10 years.
The country exports around 15 million kilogrammes of tea annually, of which, 80 per cent is exported to Pakistan alone, BTB officials said.
Recently, a Bangladesh delegation comprising representatives from the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the workers' union and BTA, visited several tea plantations in Dooars of West Bengal in India to gather experience.