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Pakistan Gets Major Breakthrough in Tea Development

Islamabad July 19,2002. “Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) has succeeded in developing a high quality tea in the country at Shinkiari, Mansehra. The project that was initiated two years back with the involvement of private sector has shown positive signs so far. The Chinese survey team has also confirmed the high quality and the potential available in the mountainous areas of Pakistan”.

This was told by PARC Chairman Badaruddin Soomro while giving presentation to the officials of the ministry of food, agriculture and livestock (MINFAL) on the occasion of annual meeting on Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP). Federal Minister for MINFAL Mr. Khair Mohamed Junejo presided over the session in which all concerned departments of the ministry participated.
Mr. Junejo applauded the efforts of PARC for showing tremendous results in tea development and production despite financial constraints. He said that the government is committed to enhance agricultural products as well their production. “Pakistan has been spending huge amounts of foreign exchange on the import of Tea from other countries. With the development of indigenous tea in Pakistan, national exchequer will receive a good relief”, he maintained.
He said that the ministry has kicked off Crop Maximization Project in order to attain self-sufficiency in food and related items. He said that his team is working hard to achieve a uniform rate of production and quality through out the country. It is hopeful to narrow the gap between an average product and the best quality product so that all producers have equal opportunities available in the market to sell their produce.
Chairman PARC however said that the results could have been much better and sophisticated had the financial resources been provided adequately. He presented the success story before the participants and assessed the future prospects of the project. He found that the soil of Pakistan has every reason to produce good quality tea in the country and the climatic conditions are favourable in the mountainous areas.
He told that Tea Research and Development Programme (TRDP) was commenced in July 1998 with a total cost of Rs. 60.304 million. The objectives of the project included surveying and modifying specific plantation sites and pioneer farmers. It was aimed at raising 11.00 million nursery plants at National Tea Research Institute (NTRI), Shinkiari, Mansehra for transplantation on 2200 acres of farmers’ fields spread over the project life and demonstrate/popularize and impart training on technique of tea plantation among the tea growers in district Mansehra and Swat.
The TRDP has contributed in raising 2.2 million tea cuttings from selected tea bushes and planted in soil filled polyethylene sleeves in tea nursery. Besides tea cutting, 1.4 million tea seeds had also been sown in the nursery. More than 3000 kg tea seed has collected from NTRI tea garden that has been established for tea plantation on 12 acres of farmer’s field in central Swat and 20 acres in Battagram District. More than 31.527 tons of raw material plucked from NTRI and farmers fields has so far been processed into 7.006 ton of green tea.
He said that receiving this huge success of TRDP for green tea, another project Establishment of Black Tea Processing Plant has initiated with Rs. 39.986 million total cost in July 1999 to establish black tea processing facility of moderate capacity (500-1000 kg/day) at National Tea Research Institute (NTRI), Shinkiari.

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