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Tea Day calls for sustainability of global tea sector


  

There is a crucial need to ensure the sustainability of tea production. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said this as it marked the first observance of International Tea Day last month. The basis for the livelihoods of millions of farmers, sustaining tea production is critical, especially at a time when the world economy enters a recession and incomes decline as a result of the COVID-19. The recent event brought together representatives from the world's top tea exporting and importing countries as well as major producing countries such as Argentina, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya and South Korea. Tea cultivation in these countries is an essential source of jobs and income. Due to the pandemic, the event was virtual.
Tea is the world's most-consumed drink, after water, and a significant source of livelihoods and income for millions of families in developing countries said FAO. Smallholders are responsible for 60%of world tea production.
"Tea, as a source of employment and revenue, can help alleviate some of the hardships resulting from the current economic downturn", said Qu Dongyu, FAO Director-General.
Yet despite its vital contribution to rural development and poverty alleviation, the sector still faces several challenges. These include adverse weather impacts, access to markets for smallholder producers, lack of transparency and sustainability in the tea value chain, said FAO.
Aside from highlighting the social, cultural and health dimensions of tea, Qu stressed tea production’s other vital contributions. Such as fighting hunger, reducing extreme poverty, and empowering women, while safeguarding ecosystems and biodiversity. Thus, Qu encouraged all stakeholders to forge partnerships and concrete projects to further sustainably develop the tea sector.
There is a need for better policies, more innovation, increased investments and greater inclusiveness in tea production and processing. These elements are critical to building a more productive and resilient tea sector, Qu stated. (Image from Pixabay)

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