International Tea Day, 15/Dec
According to the United Nations, International Tea Day is observed annually on May 21. The resolution was passed on December 21, 2019 and requests that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) lead the Day’s commemoration.
The goal of International Tea Day is to raise awareness of tea’s long history as well as its deep cultural and economic significance around the world. The day’s goal is to promote and foster collective actions to implement activities in support of sustainable tea production and consumption, as well as to raise awareness of the importance of tea in fighting hunger and poverty.
Since 2005, December 15 has been designated as International Tea Day in tea-producing countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Uganda, and Tanzania. International Tea Day aims to bring global attention to the impact of the global tea trade on workers and growers, and has been linked to calls for price supports and fair trade.
Why drink tea?
The Camellia sinesis plant is used to make tea. After water, tea is the most popular beverage in the world. Tea is thought to have originated in northeast India, northern Myanmar, and southwest China, but the exact location is unknown. Tea has been around for quite some time. Tea was consumed in China 5,000 years ago, according to archaeological evidence.
Tea production and processing is a major source of income for millions of families in developing countries, as well as the primary source of food for millions of poor families in a number of least developed countries.
The tea industry is a major source of income and export revenue for some of the world’s poorest countries, and as a labor-intensive industry, it provides employment opportunities, particularly in remote and economically disadvantaged areas. Tea, as one of the most important cash crops, has the potential to play a significant role in rural development, poverty reduction, and food security in developing countries.
Tea consumption can provide health and wellness benefits due to the beverage’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and weight loss properties. In many societies, it also has cultural significance.
The General Assembly decided to designate 21 May as International Tea Day, reinforcing the Intergovernmental Group on Tea’s call to direct greater efforts toward expanding demand, particularly in tea-producing countries where per capita consumption is relatively low, and supporting efforts to address declining per capita consumption in traditional importing countries.
The Day will promote and foster collective actions to implement activities in support of sustainable tea production and consumption, as well as raise awareness of the importance of tea in combating hunger and poverty.
Tea production and the SDGs
Tea production and processing helps reduce extreme poverty (Goal 1), fight hunger (Goal 2), empower women (Goal 5) and protect terrestrial ecosystems (Goal 15).
Furthermore, there is an urgent need to increase public awareness of the value of tea for rural development and sustainable livelihoods, as well as to improve the tea value chain to contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Climate Change and Tea
Changes in growing conditions have a high impact on tea production. Tea can only be produced in specific agro-ecological conditions and thus in a small number of countries, many of which will be severely impacted by climate change.
Temperature and rainfall patterns are changing, resulting in more floods and droughts, which are already affecting yields, tea product quality, and prices, lowering incomes and threatening rural livelihoods.
These climate changes are expected to worsen, necessitating immediate adaptation measures. Simultaneously, there is a growing awareness of the need to contribute to climate change mitigation by lowering carbon emissions from tea production and processing.
As a result, tea-producing countries should incorporate climate change challenges into their national tea development strategies, both in terms of adaptation and mitigation.