MTI Team from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Bahrain with Gemcon Directors
MTI’s Regional Team recently concluded a supply chain strategising project with Kazi and Kazi Tea Estate Ltd (KKTE) in Bangladesh.
KKTE, the only internationally-certified organic tea grower in Bangladesh, is located in the northernmost district of Panchagarh, only 50 km south of Darjeeling.
KKTE started its journey in the year 2000 by acquiring uncultivated land. The KKTE garden produces a variety of organic teas including black tea, green tea, oolong tea, white tea and organic herbs such as mint, lemongrass, ginger, turmeric and moringa.
KKTE tea is currently available internationally under the Teatulia brand and in the Bangladesh market under the Kazi and Kazi Tea brand.
During the project, the MTI team had the opportunity to visit few families impacted by the company’s dairy cooperative, the Kazi Shahid Foundation (KSF), named after its founder and Chairman of the Gemcon group, Kazi Shahid Ahmed. The foundation was started in 2000 with the goal of improving the livelihoods of the people living in close proximity to KKTE.
An innovative initiative of the foundation is the cattle lending programme. Co-op members are loaned a dairy cow by the company that can be paid back by way of providing 20 – 40 litres of cow dung per day and one litre of milk. These bio-friendly raw materials are utilised for KKTE’s organic tea garden. One unique feature of this programme is that the repayment is in the form of cow dung and milk for two years, after which the beneficiaries are free to rear the cow as they see fit.
In addition to the dairy cooperative programme, KSF also facilitates an organic tea cooperative, organic vegetable farming and supply, bio-fertilizer production and education programmes.
Director of KKTE and Gemcon Group Dr. Kazi Ahmed expressed, “Our organic tea garden’s almost two decades of transformative journey from barren land to lush tea garden has been remarkable. We believe in inclusive growth and as such KSF was established to focus on empowering women, who are the primary beneficiaries of this programme in the region. We are delighted to be working with MTI in this journey to transform our supply chain with cutting-edge practices, to cater to our growing demand from both local and international markets.”
MTI CEO Hilmy Cader commented, “It’s exemplary to see such an impactful rural employment model, which has benefited the livelihood of the people in this area. The organisation and its foundation is a visionary socio-economic model that will continue to have a positive impact for years to come. We are delighted to work with an organisation that promotes organic principles while truly focusing on the social well-being of its community.”