Tea imports reach all-time high of Rs13.34 billion

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's tea import bill has reached to an all time high Rs13.34 billion, forcing the authorities to look for certain import substitution including the commercialisation of tea production.

By A Correspondent

Published: Mon 28 May 2007, 8:42 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 8:38 PM

Official sources said that the government would soon be launching commercialisation of tea production under a Rs890 million public-private partnership programme aimed at reducing tea import bill.

The ministry of food and agriculture and livestock (MINFAL) has finalised a plan that sought to produce tea as "import substitution intervention" in line with the objectives of the Medium Term Development Framework (MTDF-2005-10).

The objective is to develop a high value agriculture and promoting it in remote regions of the country as per constitutional mandate. Tea promotion on small farmers' lands, creating economic opportunities in mountain areas thereby generating job facilities and reducing poverty is the part of the programme.

The "Commercialisation of Tea Production Through Public- Private Sector Partnership" project has been firmed which is expected to be launched within this year in northern areas of NWFP and AJK.

Various exercises have started to identify suitable areas in the denuded forests of North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Azad Jummu and Kashmir(AJK) for tea plantation.

According to the plan, tea plantation on 4,000 acres by private sector will be facilitated which included 800 acres by NWFP extension department, 200 acres by AJK extension department and 50 acres in FATA. The establishment of progeny gardens on 2.5 acres for multiplication of nursery plants from the selected bushes at National Tea Research Institute (NRTI) and propagation of nursery plants on mass scale by NTRI, Shinkiari together at Manserha and AJK is also included in the programme.

It has also been decided to provide technical support to the private sector through training of their manpower and help establish their tea nurseries.

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