Global demand for tea increased during COVID-19 pandemic – KBC
Global demand for tea has seen a remarkable increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, giving new impetus to build a sustainable and resilient tea sector while preserving its uniqueness as a community.
This was a key takeaway from a high-level virtual event organized by FAO to mark international tea day 2021.
“Celebrating tea is celebrating peace, culture and hope,” FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said in his opening speech.
Adding this: “Tea can play an important role in our journey to better rebuild. Being the most consumed drink in the world after water, tea brings people together to share stories and lifestyles.
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Despite the key role tea plays in securing rural incomes, livelihoods and food security, the sector faces a number of challenges, the Director-General warned.
He reminded the audience that tea can only be produced under narrowly defined agro-ecological conditions and therefore the impact of climate change and extreme weather events is one of the most pressing issues that require urgent attention.
Other major stressors for the tea sector include increasing competitiveness in the beverage sector and declining yields for small farmers.
In addition, the global tea trade in 2020 has been affected by logistics issues and measures imposed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the increase in home tea consumption more than offset the decrease in out-of-home consumption in many cases.
In the first weeks of lockdowns in several countries, door-to-door tea sales have surged, increasing by 75% in some consuming countries.
The Managing Director spoke of the need to balance growth and sustainability at all stages of the tea value chain.
To achieve this, he called for greater sustainability, through climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, increased transparency and market sustainability. He also spoke of the importance of sustainable production policies that target smallholders.
Tea is a source of sustenance
The production and processing of tea provides jobs and income for millions of smallholder farmers and workers in developing countries. Small-scale tea producers are responsible for 60 percent of world tea production.
“Tea is an important source of ingredients, income and inspiration and can help alleviate some of the burden resulting from the economic recession, especially for the rural poor,” noted the Director-General, stressing the need for ” improve the smallholder business ecosystem.
For example, in light of the current pandemic and its impact on the tea trade and tea supply chains, it is crucial to adopt new business models and technologies to ensure market access for small businesses. farmers in this new reality.
The Director-General referred to the International Day as an excellent opportunity to renew the global commitment to building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient tea sector.
Magic in a cup that protects and heals
During the event, attendees touted the many health benefits of tea, including its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and weight loss effects.
Global per capita tea consumption has grown by 3 percent over the past decade, driven by rising per capita income and population growth in developing and emerging markets.
High level participation
The celebration of May 21, 2021 brought together the main tea exporting and importing countries in the world as well as the main producing countries.
Participants echoed the Director-General’s call to boost sustainable tea production, address the challenges smallholders face and harness the full potential of the sector to rebuild better.
High-level speakers included Inam Karimov, Minister of Agriculture of Azerbaijan; TANG Renjian, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, China (via video message); Stefano Patuanelli, Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, Italian Republic (via video message); Hamadi Boga, Principal Secretary for Crop Development and Agricultural Research, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, Republic of Kenya; Maneesh Gobin, Attorney General, Minister of Agribusiness and Food Security, Mauritius; Anup Wadhawan, Secretary of Commerce, India; Shabnam Weber, President, Tea and Herbal Association, Canada.
Closing the high-level segment, FAO Chief Economist Máximo Torero Cullen stressed that tea is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, contributing to goals such as ending the poverty, eradicating hunger and improving the sustainable management and use of natural resources.
He reaffirmed FAO’s continued support and commitment to work with all partners for a better future for the “field to cup” tea sector.