A piping hot cup of tea snuggled in the lap of your hands is a tremendous feeling when the weather is bitterly frosty outside and giving you goose bumps. The credit of this comforting cup of tea does not go to the swanky packaged brand names. Instead the respect and admiration should be bestowed upon the tea growers and the labour working in the tea garden estates. To honor their backbreaking efforts, International Tea Day is observed on December 15 every year.
India was the pioneer in initiating the proposal to the United Nations panel for observing an International Tea Day which was supported by various countries. Even The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) and Inter-governmental Group (IGG) welcomed the proposal as a great incentive to shape the lives of the tea growers and laborers. The proposal of India for observing International Tea Day was unanimously supported by countries such as Canada, the United States, European Union, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, Kenya and Malawi. Thus, the first International Tea Day was celebrated in New Delhi, India in 2005. Ever since then, it has become a custom to draw worldwide awareness to support the tea growers and workers. In year 2015, the Indian government advocated the expansion of the observance of International Tea Day through the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
Apart from India, countries like Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda and Vietnam are the major tea producers of the world. The united efforts of these countries is to build a better tomorrow for the laborers who are working in the tea estate at a negligible wage. The monthly income paid to them is unable to sustain the living standard above the poverty line. They are living in a wretched condition lacking the basic infrastructure to support a healthy and sanitized lifestyle. They dwell in shabby homes exposed to the extreme weather conditions. They lack provision for education, health facilities, hygienic food and clean lavatories.
The International Tea Day celebration is an initiative to sensitize the government and the citizens of the various countries to influence the owners of Tea Estate and Mega brand names to abort unfair trade practices. Global Tea Conferences along with trade union have been organized to reach a commendatory conclusion that benefits the poor tea growers and laborers. The conference’s agenda is to discuss various issues of the global tea industry ranging from the hazardous condition which is inflicting upon the tea growers and laborers, their exposure to chemicals, their pay package, residues, climate change and sustainability of growing tea.
In every sip of that cup of tea, we should be beholden to the tea growers and planters who slog day and night in harvesting tea. However, just being grateful to them won’t evaporate their woes in thin air. We must together raise our voice as powerful consumers and make a difference in their lives. So, let us come together to provide dignity of life to those who provide us with nerve soothing beverage.