ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) has developed latest technology and processing units besides identifying various areas for the production of tea to rid the country of huge bills it has been spending on tea imports as the per capita tea consumption has reached to 1. kg per annum.
“At present Pakistan is the second largest import of team after United Kingdom and has been spending huge amount on import bills,” a top official in the council told APP adding that proper management, capacity building and investment in this sector could help the country become self-sufficient in this field.
He said that it has also been proved by research that taste of Pakistani tea comes at second number and if this potential is properly tapped it would even make the country able to export tea, however, added that it was now duty of the private sector to invest in this field for its own benefit and for the welfare of the country.
According to data, the country imported as much as 127,316 metric tons of black tea costing $301 million in 2010-11 while the green tea imports during this period stood at 3,322 metric tons of $4.25 million.
The data showed that the country imported tea worth $.105 million in 2006-07 while tea of $102 was imported in 2007-08, $98 million in 2008-09 and $95 million in 2009-10.
The PARC has been involved with farmers for tea production and has planted tea plants on 32 acres of land in Shankiari, 45 acres in Oagi, 32 acres in Balakot, 191 acres in Batagram while 120 farmers have been involved in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and plantation on 21 acres has been done there while in FATA plantation has been done on 28 acres of land.
He said that the PARC has been also facilitating students of various universities to do their PhD in tea production.
Meanwhile, Secretary Ministry of Science and Technology, Akhlaq Ahmad Tarar visited PARC’s National Tea Research Institute (NTRI) where he was given detailed briefing by PARC Chairman, Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad.
Speaking on the occasion, the secretary said that provision of appropriate funds to the research institutions could help make progress in agriculture field. He however, stressed the need for involving private sector in tea production.
He also visited the tea gardens and tea processing unit and lauded efforts of the PARC for conducting research.
Chairman PARC, termed the NTRI as a showcase of success of PARC adding that the scientists have been vigorously conducting research to lead the country towards progress and prosperity, particularly in the agriculture field, which is the backbone of the economy.
Director NTRI, Dr F.S Hamid, informed the secretary about the 12 outstanding tea bushes the institute has identified which he said have high yielding potential adding that the institute has also established the progeny garden of 14 different tea cultivars/varieties.