Tea to help transform agrifood systems for ending hunger: FAO

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The economic importance of the tea industry has grown during the pandemic

The tea industry can play an important part in the transformation of global agrifood systems, but it must overcome significant challenges, QU Dongyu, Director-General of the of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), said.

“Tea can play a leading role in our path to build a better world where no one is left behind,” Qu said in opening remarks to the 24th Session of FAO’s Intergovernmental Group on Tea.

Tea export earnings represent an important source of revenues, especially for many low-income countries that need foreign exchange to pay for their food import bills and to buy goods and services from world markets.

“To end world hunger and poverty it is critical that we transform our agrifood systems, and tea can play a role in this transformation,” Qu told the meeting, attended by government experts, officials and international observers. 

Tea is the most widely consumed drink in the world after water and represents an important economic activity, with the value of global tea production estimated at around $ 17 billion, while trade is valued at about $ 8 billion annually, according to FAO statistics.

The Director-General also noted that tea has an important social dimension; it brings people together to share stories, build friendships and overcome differences.

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