The International Tea Day was successfully and impressively celebrated/recognized by Governments, Tea bodies and companies the world over. It was gratifying to see enthusiasm lift, on this first anniversary of the anointment of 21st May as "the day of tea", but like the joy of a new puppy for Christmas or any other occasion, reality is never far behind and the event does not, in itself, make for a healthier trade or represent a commitment by anyone to do anything different for the industry.
It was a very well attended day, and much informative programming by Associations and others helped to educate and report on the real issues within the industry. It is absolutely a useful day but it relies on the fortitude of individuals to turn this 0.23797% of our Gregorian calendar into a year round commitment!
What has not changed is the hard work put in by so many to make our teacup sing, or the continual struggle to ensure that their workplace and environment are safe and their labours justly rewarded and reflected in the price of tea on the shelf!
There is not, yet, a mechanism in place (despite some thoughts around the impact of e-auctions) to ensure that the farmer's/Producer's interests are fully compensated and, as certain markets continue to fall (courtesy of fundamentals) and costs (Freight for one) sky rocket, it becomes ever more likely that this end of the supply chain will suffer further.
So, despite our good intentions on a day of celebration, let's not forget the good people, world wide, that harvest and manipulate the leaf we love.
It's purported health benefits should be healthy for all, whether through access to a living wage and decent living conditions or by ingesting that chemistry, so precious to taste and human physiology.
There is much very good work being done within the industry, at all levels of the supply chain and, despite some rather blinkered, biased reporting, improvements are there for many, against extremely steep odds. We need to ensure that we ask ourselves (whether as consumers, Retailers, Packers or ??) how we can emulate and/or expand on such good work, during the 99.726% of the year we have left, so that we can collectively celebrate a year of continuing improvement, on May 21st 2022.