To transform the parched, arid Bangladeshi soil into a lush organic tea garden took dung. Tons of it. How to acquire the massive amounts needed was the sticky problem facing Kazi Anis Ahmed, the 41-year-old cofounder and president of Teatulia. After all, it was not exactly part of the doctoral thesis in comparative literature that he had completed at New York University.
The story of Teatulia, the only organic tea garden in Bangladesh, started in 2000. Ahmed’s father, Kazi Shahid, was preparing for his three sons to join the family business Gemcon Group, which at the time was focused on media and construction. It was Kazi Shahid who came up with the idea of expanding into tea in the northwest of the country, a mere 97 kilometers from India’s famed Darjeeling tea region. The little-known fact is that Bangladesh is one of the world’s 10 largest tea-growing locations. But with no international reputation, all the tea is consumed within the country’s borders—and almost all the tea is grown in the east.