December 15 International Tea Day
International Tea Day (ITD) is celebrated on December 15 every year.
"The day surely celebrates tea but there’s lot more to it - there’s a purpose and agenda. The day aims to spread awareness about the tea producing countries, the tea growers, their communities and the trade of tea. It draws global attention of governments and citizens to the problems of tea industry, tea production and the impact of the global tea trade on the workers." writes Ruhani Sandhu on her blog
The first International Tea Day was observed on December 15, 2005, worldwide, to draw the attention of governments and citizens to the impact of current forms of global trade in tea on workers, small growers, and consumers. The decision to observe International Tea Day was taken after deliberations among various international organizations and trade unions during the World Social Forum in Mumbai, India, 2004 and Porto Alegre, 2005.
In the run up to the 1st ITD observance, a two-day international consultation was held in Delhi. The delegates were worker leaders and small tea growers’ representatives from various tea-growing countries namely Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Malawi, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, and Vietnam. On December 15, 2005 the delegates adopted the declaration on the rights of tea workers and small growers.
Following were identified by the organisers as the major objectives of the International Tea Day.
To affirm the rights of tea plantation workers and small growers in the context of the emerging global trade regime
To build awareness and responsiveness among all the concerned bodies: owners, management, government, trade unions, and workers with regard to both trade and labour standards
To identify necessary policy decision both nationally and internationally and to advocate the promulgation of policy decisions, institutional systems, and their implementation
To suggest regulatory mechanisms, including transparent monitoring systems, to be set up at various levels
To strengthen future advocacy and campaign at an international level
To facilitate tea consumption and promotion of trade in tea
In India the call to observe International Tea Day was given by trade unions — AITUC, AICCTU, BMS, CITU, HMS, INTUC, UTUC, NTUI, and TUCC — and the Centre for Education and Communication, New Delhi. Subsequently, a one-day programme was held in New Delhi on December 15, 2005. Worker leaders, small growers, voluntary organizations, and academicians were among the key participants in the programme. The broad objective of the programme was to affirm the rights of plantation workers and small growers in the context of the emerging global trade regime.
This year (2017), small tea growers in India are urging the government of India to move away from its historic tea estate-centric perspective and incorporate a farmer-centric perspective in its policies and programmes, recognising the fact that they produce more than 50% of tea in India. STGs are also seeking declaration of minimum support price of tea under the provisions of Tea Act, 1953 and an immediate renegotiation of the provisions of Indo-ASEAN FTA to prevent dumping of cheap tea into India and into other tea producing countries in ASEAN.