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UN to observe May 21 as International Tea Day
Ajit Patowary

 GUWAHATI, Dec 15 - The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) has decided to observe May 21 every year as International Tea Day across the globe in response to a proposal moved by India at the FAO Intergovernmental Group meeting on Tea on October 16, 2015. The UN General Assembly accepted the proposal in September 2019. This has now been notified.

 The idea behind observing International Tea Day is to celebrate the goodness of tea and to focus on its benefits for generating awareness on the importance of drinking tea among the younger generation.

According to Joydeep Phukan, Secretary of Tea Research Association and Coordinator of the FAO Intergovernmental Group on Tea for India, had initially mooted the idea before Santosh Sarangi, Head of the Indian delegation and Joint Secretary, Commerce at Milan in Italy.

Sarangi accepted the idea and placed it at the FAO session in Milan. The FAO session unanimously accepted the idea.

Thereafter, as per the procedure for a formal decision by the UN General Assembly, the proposal was moved by the Indian Ministry of Commerce through the nodal Agriculture Ministry of the country to the Indian permanent representative to the FAO. China also extended its full support to the proposal.

The UN General Assembly selected May as the month for International Tea Day as it is the quality tea manufacturing season in most of the tea-producing countries.

The UN General Assembly in its resolution on the issue said, inter alia, that tea production and processing contributes to the fight against hunger, reduction of extreme poverty, empowerment of women and sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems.

Moreover, it said tea can play a significant role in rural development, poverty reduction and ensuring food security in developing countries because of it being one of the most important cash crops.

Besides, it said tea consumption can bring health benefits and wellness, among others.

Therefore, it said that it is of the firm belief that observance of International Tea Day would promote and foster collective action to implement activities in favour of the sustainable production and consumption of tea and raise awareness of its importance in fighting against hunger and poverty.

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