While looking for commercial tea plantations, the government of Pakistan decided to grow tea on an area of approximately 25,000 acres over the next five years.
“This year, we are going to approve a project where we are growing tea on an area of 25,000 acres; we are making history; We plan to complete the proposed tea plantations in the next five years,” said Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Food Security, Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, during a visit to the national Tea and High-Value Crops Research Institute and Crops (NTHRI) in Shinkiari, Mansehra.
In 1986, the National Tea Research Institute (NTRI), later renamed NTHRI, was established on 50 acres of land in Shinkiari on the advice of Chinese tea experts. NTHRI is an important player in encouraging tea cultivation in the country.
The proposed 25,000 acres of land include 10,000 acres of government-owned woods, 12,000 acres of private land where the Forest Department has planted trees, and 3,000 acres in Azad Kashmir. According to the government’s plan, the tea plantation will be expanded to include all tea-cultivable land in the country during the following phase.
According to Cheema, Pakistan has a lot of potential for tea cultivation because it possesses 178,000 acres of tea cultivable land. “Pakistan can cultivate its tea,” he claimed, adding that the country imports 30 million tonnes of tea from 15 different tea-producing countries each year.
According to Cheema, Pakistan spends Rs90 billion per year on tea imports. Black tea imports are about Rs89 billion, while green tea imports are worth Rs1 billion.
According to experts, China has played a crucial role in the promotion of tea in Pakistan from the beginning. As potentially suitable sites and land for growing tea are located along with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) China has a large role to play in promoting tea on a commercial scale through joint ventures and technical and support financial.