The plant will be set up in Shinkiari, near Mansehra – Pakistan’s first tea garden where black and green tea is produced
Pakistan’s brotherhood country Turkey has gifted an automatic tea-processing plant to provide support the country’s tea-growing efforts based on modern technology.
According to the information, Turkey’s Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock has sent a latest automatic tea-processing plant to Pakistan as a gift in recognition of the country’s tea-growing efforts.
Pakistan’s Tea and High Value Crops Research Director Dr Farrukh Siyar Hamid confirmed the arrival of advance tea-processing plants at Karachi.
Dr Farrukh Siyar Hamid said that the plant has the capacity to process 400 to 500kg of tea per day, the plant that would be made operational by April next year.
The tea project plant will be set up at Shinkiari, near Mansehra which is spread over 50 acres, this is Pakistan’s first tea garden where black and green tea is produced.
Earlier Pakistan imported a tea plant from china with the capacity of producing one tonne of black tea per day and about 100kg green tea per day.
Dr Hamid said that after a series of soil surveys carried out by the institute, 158,147 acres of land suitable for tea plantation has been identified in districts of Mansehra, Battagram and Swat. The productive and cultivable land is presently not being utilised, he said.
The institute had also carried out soil surveys in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) where prospects emerged for the cultivation of tea. However, the forest department of AJK refused to allocate land for the project, he added.
Tea crop cultivation has been experimented on farmers’ fields in different agro-ecological zones in the three districts, he said. The tea research institute has completed testing of 14 exotic tea germplasm and identified 13 tea clones.
In addition, the institute has developed clusters at Siran, Konsh and Kunhar valleys where sixty farmers were trained to grow tea.
Dr Hamid said the tea being produced in Pakistan is much liked by the Chinese and the products have the prospects to thrive along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
According to the official statistics, Pakistan imported 93,500 tonnes of black tea during the first six months of 2017 at a cost of Rs22 billion. The import of 450 tonnes of green tea during Jan-June 2017 period cost Rs106 million to Pakistan. The data further shows that import of tea increased by over 325 per cent in 20 years.
The efforts to promote tea cultivation received a setback in the country when one of the largest tea gardens spread over 186 acres was destroyed during a military onslaught against Taliban affiliated militants in the scenic valley of Swat in 2009.