The tea industry provides millions of people around the world with cups of tea in the morning. One of the biggest producers of tea, India, recognizes the importance of tea in its communities and as a commodity for commerce.
However, much of the working conditions for those within the tea industry still need much improvement. If you think this holiday was about drinking tea, well think again! International Tea Day is all about the tea workers and bringing civil rights into action. Let’s see how this holiday came to pass.
History of International Tea Day
The International Tea Day campaign was launched in 2005 by the trade unions, small tea growers and civil society organizations in Asia and Africa to address the issues of living wages for workers and fair prices for small tea producers.
The International Tea Conference in New Delhi came out with an International Declaration on the rights of workers and small growers to help regulate uneven competition, land ownership, safety regulations, rights of women, social security and living wages. Another organization, The Tea Board of India, proposed International Tea Day in hopes of it becoming an official holiday to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
This was proposed by chairman Santosh Kumar Sarangi in 2015. According to the chairman, the proposal of India was supported by countries such as Canada, the United States, European Union, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, Kenya, and Malawi. While the holiday doesn’t have official status, the goal of this holiday is to recognize the vulnerable situations that tea producers in India have with current living conditions and worker-related policies.
The day also focuses on deliberating on urgent issues such as residues, climate change, technology and trends on production and consumption in the tea industry. To observe this day, over 150 representatives from tea organizations gather and conduct a seminar to discuss the pervading problems the tea industry has as well as problems faced within their own country.
How to Celebrate International Tea Day
If you’re a lover of tea, then do some research about some of your favorite companies. Try looking up tea brands that support fair trade, and possibly switch to those brands to make a difference in the way you buy products such as tea. Use the hashtag #internationalteaday to help recognize it as an official holiday and educate others about the tea industry if you’re interested.