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International Tea Day 2024 – May 21

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International Tea DayThe United Nations (UN)’s International Tea Day (ITD) is annually observed across the globe on 21st May to promote sustainable production and consumption of tea and highlight the role of tea cultivation in combating hunger and poverty.

21st May 2024 marks the observance of the 5th ITD.

  • ITD is observed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, a specialized agency of the UN that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.


i.ITD emphasises the importance of tea for rural communities, sustainable livelihood, and contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

ii.ITD highlights tea’s cultural heritage and health benefits; emphasises the tea sector’s economic significance; and promotes sustainable production “from field to cup.”


i.ITD has been celebrated since 2005 on 15th December in tea-producing countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Uganda, India and Tanzania.

ii.In 2005, a group of tea workers from New Delhi (Delhi) hosted the 1st ITD.

iii.In October 2015, the Indian government proposed to the FAO Intergovernmental Group (IGG) on Tea to expand ITD globally.


i.On 19 December 2019, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/74/241 designating the 21st May of every year as International Tea Day.

ii.The 1st UN-recognised International Tea Day was observed on 21 May 2020.

Note: The 2024 ITD highlights women and their role in the tea sector.

About Tea:

i.Tea, the aromatic beverage, is one of the world’s oldest beverages derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, is the world’s most consumed drink after water.

ii.It is believed that tea originated in northeast India, north Myanmar (Burma), and southwest China, with evidence of its consumption in China dating back 5,000 years.

iii.It is one of the most important cash crops and plays a significant role in rural development, poverty reduction, and food security.

Economic Significance of Tea:

i.Tea cultivation supports over 13 million people, including smallholder farmers.

ii.While three-quarters of tea production is consumed domestically, tea is a widely traded and exported commodity.

iii.Despite rising tea consumption in major producing countries, per capita consumption remains low.

  • This indicates substantial growth opportunities within these regions.

2024 Events:

On 21st May 2024, FAO organised a hybrid event and an exhibition to mark the ITD 2024, “Honouring women around the world, from crop to cup” at FAO Atrium and Sheikh Zayed Centre in Rome, Italy.

  • The event focussed on women and their role in the tea sector and was inaugurated by FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu.