Tea is the world’s most-consumed drink after water. Its consumption is believed to bring health benefits, and it has strong cultural connotations in specific communities. The tea processing and production industry provide income and livelihood to millions of families in developing and least developed countries. The industry can play a significant role in rural development, poverty reduction, and food security in developing countries, being one of the most important cash crops.

The General Assembly decided to designate May 21 as International Tea Day as it will promote and foster collective actions to implement activities in favor of the sustainable production and consumption of tea and raise awareness of its importance in fighting hunger and poverty.

Tea production and the Sustainable Development Goals

Tea production and processing contribute to the reduction of extreme poverty (Goal 1), the fight against hunger (Goal 2), the empowerment of women (Goal 5), and the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems (Goal 15).

Moreover, there is an urgent need to raise public awareness of the importance of tea for rural development and sustainable livelihoods and improve the tea value chain to contribute to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Tea and climate change

Tea production is highly sensitive to changes in growing conditions. Tea can only be produced in narrowly defined agro-ecological conditions and, hence, in a minimal number of countries, many of which will be heavily impacted by climate change.

With more floods and droughts, changes in temperature and rainfall patterns are already affecting yields, tea product quality, and prices, lowering incomes and threatening rural livelihoods. These climate changes are expected to intensify, calling for urgent adaptation measures. In parallel, there is a growing recognition of the need to contribute to climate change mitigation by reducing carbon emissions from tea production and processing.

Therefore, tea-producing countries should integrate climate change challenges, both on the adaptation and mitigation front, into their national tea development strategies.

For more information click here