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Uganda Tea Development Agency

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International Tea Day 2020

The world observed the International Tea Day on 21 May 2020. This is the debut year of the International Tea Day following the adoption of a resolution designating this day on 15th December 2019 by the United Nations (UN) general assembly. It is celebrated by the UN’s world Food Programme (WFP) mainly to increase awareness of Tea significance and thereby promote consumption globally.
Tea is the second most consumed drink in the world after water. The globally admired, non-alcoholic, caffeine-containing beverage is an all-weather drink, usually served hot or iced depending on one’s preference. The world’s oldest beverage is today consumed in six main varieties, all based on oxidation and fermentation processing techniques.

Tea is manufactured from the tender leaves of the evergreen shrubby tea plant botanically known as Camellia sinensis. It is basically a woody, perennial crop with a lifespan of more than 100 years. It is believed to have its origin in ancient China around 2700 BC.
Tea is medicinal and offers a number of health benefits to its regular consumers beyond refreshment. Research has it that individuals who regularly drink tea are less likely to develop atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease compared to none tea drinkers. Tea is a rich source of flavonoids, bioactive compounds that can lessen oxidative stress and relieve inflammation. It is also one single cancer fighter known. Black tea contains polyphenols that prevent cancer cell survival. “Although black tea should not be considered an alternative treatment for cancer, some research has demonstrated black tea’s potential to help reduce cancer cell survival ” Healthline.com

Tea growing and processing is a major source of income to a considerable population in Africa, Middle East and Asia. It is a source of livelihood to millions of people along the tea production and trade value chain.
The United Nations has therefore purposed to celebrate this contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda specifically reduction of extreme poverty, women empowerment and sustainable use of the environment, through the International Tea Day to be observed annually on the 21st day of May.

Initially, the world’s major tea producers celebrated the Tea Day on 15th December. The UN preferred May 21st because tea production season begins in May in most tea producing countries.

Uganda is the 2nd largest Tea producer in Africa after Kenya and among the top 15 in the world. There are 36 tea-processing factories situated in the western and southwestern Districts producing mainly CTC black tea. Only about 5% of Uganda’s annual production is consumed locally with over 90% exported largely through the Mombasa weekly auction. Tea exports grew to approximately USD 88.8 million in 2018 from USD 71.5 million in 2016. Currently, the tea industry in Uganda employs more than 62,000 people and supports more than 500,000 dependents.

Realizing the immense potential, the government of Uganda has made effort to strengthen the sector through provision of free tea seedlings to farmers under the NAADS/OWC programme to boost production. Uganda Development Corporation has also invested USD 2.37 million in establishing two new processing factories. Tea is also one of Uganda’s priority crops that the government intends to promote according the National Development Plan (NDP III). However, the sector players believe that at policy level, the government can do more to streamline the Tea sector.

As we continue to reflect on the "Tea day" celebrated last week amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Let us appreciate all the "Chai lovers" who have enormously contributed to the development of the tea Industry in Uganda and beyond, especially lovers of #Kayonza tea and #Igara Tea. Your kind support has continued to bring a ray of hope to millions of tea farmers in Uganda and beyond.