ISLAMABAD - PARC Chairman Dr Iftikhar Ahmed has stressed the need for focusing on domestic green tea production to meet the requirements of the country.

During his visit to National Tea Research Institute (NTRI) Shinkiari, the PARC chairman said that the country could be self-sufficient in green tea, imports of which have now risen to 33000 metric tonnes. He said that NTRI should focus on green tea cultivation to make the country self-sufficient in green tea production. Chairman at NTRI, Dr M Azeem, Sardar Ghulam Mustafa, Dr Naseer Malik, Dr Abdul Hayee Qureshi, Dr Farrukh S Hamid and other senior scientists were also present during the visit of PARC chairman.

On the occasion, Dr Farrukh Siyar Hamid, Director (NTRI), briefed the chairman about the history of tea cultivation and present status of its expansion in the potential area of KPK. He also gave detailed briefing about present import of tea in the country i.e, 127,000 metric tons of black tea during the year 2011-12. Director NTRI said that Pakistan was the third largest importer of tea in the world.

Chairman (PARC) was also informed that NTRI has produced 12 clones of high yielding potential and has established the progeny garden. The tea germplasm available in Pakistan are of Chinese origin and best suited for the production of green tea. Moreover, the market price and consumer acceptability demands that green tea production is more economical compared to the black tea. Green tea has been enjoyed by the people in China and Japan for thousands of years, not only for its taste but also for the health benefits associated with it.

The secret of green tea lies in the fact that it is rich in catechin, polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a powerful anti-oxidant. The positive health effects of green tea are that it prevents cancer, reduce high blood pressure, anti-diabetes effects, prevent liver disease, food poisoning, antidepressant properties.