New York: The United Nations has sought steps to boost consumption of tea to ensure price stability and steady returns to producers in developing nations, including India.
The call by the world body’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) came as statistics showed that the growth rate of tea consumption has sharply declined to 1% from 2.7% in the previous decade.
“Expanding consumption in producing countries could ease supply pressure at the world level and improve tea prices in the long run,” said a study, prepared for the Inter-governmental Group on Tea whose three-day meeting kicked off in Hangzhou in China yesterday.
Global tea production has continued to surge, rising 3% in 2006, mainly due to record crops in India, China and Vietnam, the study said.
Despite the vigorous economic growth in major tea producing countries, their per capita consumption lags behind. While Russians consume 1.26 kg and the British 2.2 kg annually, Indians take in 0.65 kg and Chinese only 0.53 kg per year.
The FAO report also stressed that enforcing minimum quality standards for tea though reaching agreement on such benchmarks is complicated will spur demand.