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25TH JUNE, 2021

An Insight into Bangladesh Tea Estates

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When you think of fine teas from across the world you will naturally lead to their origin of plantation. In Bangladesh, any mention of fine tea will lead you to Sylhet, the epicentre of the country’s best-producing teas.

Sylhet is in the North-East part of Bangladesh, home to 90 Tea Estates within the Moulvibazar District. Karimpore is one of the largest Tea Estates in Moulvibazar, established in 1894 it has a very expansive and impressive history.

Mr. Abul Pramanik is proud to announce he is the Manager of Karimpore Tea Estate. As one of the oldest Tea Estates in the area, it has grown to become one of the largest producers and exporters of tea in Bangladesh. Overseeing operations is a demanding, but equally rewarding responsibility for Mr. Pramanik.

"Before I joined Duncan Brothers, I worked in research across various sectors, including Village and Farm forestry Project (VFFP), National Science and Technology (NST) Department, and Radio Bangladesh. The scope of research allows me to think outside the box and bring some credible transferable skills to my current role, more importantly, it allows me to plan for the future of the Tea Estate."

Abdul

Karimpore is one of 90 tea gardens in the District of Moulvibazar, the District produced over 96 million kilograms of quality tea in 2019. 

Production at Karimpore continues to increase each year. Planting of clonal teas, modern technology, and efficient management practices in both field and factory are major contributors to the growth of the estate.

"Devoting many years of hard work, with the tremendous support of the company, we established a very good nursery with healthy young tea, continuous record crop with improved quality. This resulted in Duncan Brothers awarding Karimpore Tea Estate and my team “Duncan Champion Trophy” on management performance."

The conditions and climate in Sylhet are the secret behind the success of tea. Unlike other districts of Bangladesh, Sylhet’s elevation generates optimal climatic conditions. A warm, humid climate can be found all year round with an average rainfall of 1,000mm per year. With deep, friable, acidic, and well-drained soil, the tea plants thrive.

"The growing population has become an asset as Bangladesh is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. In much of the agriculture sector, we are now self-sufficient."

Tea crop depends on air, soil temperature, rainfall, sunshine, and evaporation. Excessive rain will decrease yield, drought increases the susceptibility of tea plants to insect pests.  Environmental factors cannot be prevented by can be planned for, a region fitting for tea plantation would be of little value if it were not for the strategic vision, hard work, and dedication of tea workers throughout the decades.

In Sylhet, projected average temperatures by the middle of this century are some 2 degrees Celsius higher than they are today. Therefore, a long-term vision to develop integrated adaptive measures to cope with the changing climate are reviewed annually.  

"The ability to conduct extensive research and plan are more important now than ever before. With climate changes come the reality of crop reduction, we must ensure we utilise our skills and the change in technology advances to maintain the plantations. I have lived my life believing that ‘nothing is impossible to achieve if we try with our heart and soul’."

In recent years there have been substantial changes to adapt to the changing climate and sustainability, these include agroforestry, use of organic fertiliser, legume crop cultivation, modern irrigation facility from rain-fed reservoirs, mulching, drought prune cultivation, and integrated pest management systems.

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The culture of tea in Bangladesh continues to inhabit everyday lives. Generation after generation embrace tea as the choice of beverage, continued popularity will ensure the future of Karimpore Tea Estate.

"Bangladesh is a densely populated country. The cheapest beverage to drink is tea, not only for households but also a key factor to the hospitality industry. Interestingly, the popularity of tea is not set against certain demographics. Instead, tea is popular to all people of Bangladesh."

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