The 2017 Annual International Tea Conference is held in Yibin, Sichuan Province, China, from March 17th¨C18th. The Conference is co-organized by the China Chamber of Commerce forI&E of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products (CFNA), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations¡ªIntergovernmental Working Group on Tea (FAO-IGG), International Tea Committee (ITC), and China Tea Science Society (CTSS). There are altogether over 260 participants, including domestic and overseas tea industry organizations¡¯ representatives, tea experts, well-known tea corporations¡¯ representatives, and municipal government representatives of tea production regions. Through two days¡¯ Conference, the following common consensus is reached:
1. Global tea industry is faced with great opportunities. In recent years, both global tea production and consumption has been increasing steadily. Today, there are over 50 countries and districts that are growing teaand over 170 countries and districts that are involved in trading tea. With over 2 billion fans all around the world, tea has become the best companion in people¡¯s life, as well as the media of friendship at gatherings. It represents a healthy life style, and no less a relationship bond between people. It is one of the pure natural beverages and an envoy of friendship in international trade. It is progressing into a greener, healthier, functional, and portable future.
2. Internationalization is becoming the most important impetus in the development of tea industry. It is the mission of the global tea people to coordinate the supply and demand of tea, eliminate unreasonable technological trade barriers, and accelerate the development of the industry through innovations. There are more customers drink tea and enjoy drinking tea; more capitals and R&D investments flow into the industry, via new technologies likeIoT, big data, and so on. The trial and implementation of new modes, such as international e-commerce, greatly increases the efficiency in distribution, which lays the foundation for achieving a balance between the supply and demand ends in the tea industry, step by step. We advocate reasonable technological measures based on risk assessment and risk communication, but oppose practices of hindering the healthy development of trade by utilizing technological methods.
3. The world tea industry shares theresponsibility of protecting the benefits of tea smallholders. The income level and living standard of smallholders has attracted great attention in both consumption and production countries. China has been actively involved in the practicing of accurate poverty alleviation. The tea industry observes the principle of ¡°to help the thousands of peasants alleviate poverty and improve living standard, while setting sail the mission with a leaf¡±. As one of the members of the global tea family, we ought to take on the responsibility of protecting the benefits of smallholders. Only when the smallholders are fully respected can customers around the world get to enjoy their ¡°treats of tea¡±.
4. Exploring diverse tea cultures gives drive to the development of the industry. Tea was originated in China, and spread to the world through the Silk Road, Tea Horse Road and the Ancient Tea Road. Wherever it travels, it is deeply rooted locally, and evolved into a particular tea culture that diversifies in ways of growing, processing and drinking.The long history of tea culture has become abrilliantpearl in the human culture.
The FAO-IGG on Tea proposes to set up an ¡°International Tea Day¡±,in response to that, we suggest to start the event from China, and have the ¡°International Tea Day¡ªThe Chinese Tea Culture Year¡± turn the new leaf of tea culture communication, integration and transmission, from the origin of tea. We are going to emphasize on the theme of diversified tea culture of both production and consumption countries. Meanwhile, the customers will be provided with the opportunity to focus on one country every year, fall in love with a type of tea, experience a kind of culture, and adore one country.
A detailed follow up will be brought up during the inter-sessional meeting of FAO-IGG on Tea in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in August, 2017.