jueves, 15 de diciembre de 2011

International Tea Day !!

International Tea Day
On every 15 December all tea producing countries across the World observe International Tea Day to draw attention of governments and citizens on the impact of tea trade on workers, small growers and consumers. The decision to observe the International Tea Day on 15 December was taken after deliberations among various international organizations and trade unions during the World Social Forum in Mumbai (‘04) and Porte Allegre (‘05). Subsequently, the International Tea Day is observed in major tea producing countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Uganda,IndiaandTanzania.

In the Context of WTO
Under the WTO guided international trade regime, the countries are expected to open up their borders for trade. The Indian government has also made significant changes in its policies of commodity trade. The big tea brands brokers and traders use this opportunity to remove all safeguards created by national governments to protect the industry interests, employment and food security. Besides these, there is no international commodity agreement now possible in WTO because it is completely against any multilateral initiative to control the production and price for tea as a commodity.

This is a global problem that requires a global response – a united response across borders and sectors. International Tea Day will bring to the focus the extreme vulnerability the tea workers and tea small growers are facing at the moment and their collective aspiration to change the situation. It will invite the attention of the government to acknowledge the need for safeguarding the concerns of the workers and small growers. It will bring forward the reality that the tea industry crisis may be best addressed, if it has a global perspective. It will set in motion global reaction to the problems.
Why an International Tea Day
The commodity price of tea is declining in all countries. There is overproduction in tea industry; but this is directed because the benefit goes to the global brands. The global brands get tea at the lowest prices. Tea industry across the world is experiencing large-scale restructuring. There is disintegration and disengagement at the plantation level and consolidation at the brand level. Lack of transparency in pricing is seen along the tea value chain. To make it more miserable there is disproportionate value accrual at the higher end of the tea value chain and unrealistic price realisation at the lower end.
The states' as well as international agency interventions to correct the imbalances are fast disappearing. The concentration of power at the level of brands and super-markets has resulted in slow vanishing of the clearly existed national tea markets. The ‘brands’ and ‘super-markets’ pit one country against the other and one region against the other. Consequent to all these changes, the vulnerability of tea workers in all countries is increasing and so is the case with small growers. In India alone more than two million people obtain their livelihood from the activities associated with production, value addition and the marketing of tea.

The objectives of the International Tea Day:

To affirm the rights of tea plantation workers and small growers in the context of emerging global trade regime.
To build awareness and responsiveness among all the concerned bodies: owners, management, government, trade unions and workers with regard to both trade and labour standards.
To identify necessary policy decision both nationally and internationally and to advocate for the promulgation of policy decisions, institutional systems and their implementation.
To suggest regulatory mechanisms, including transparent monitoring systems, to be set up at various levels.
To strengthen future advocacy and campaign at an international level.
To facilitate tea consumption and promotion of trade in tea.

What you can do?

Join the Tea Day Observance, if it is already taking place in your region/locality, contact tea trade unions for further information.
Organize a meeting or an event expressing solidarity with workers and small growers who produce tea for us.
Demand from the Government of India, national and state level policies that protect the interest of tea worker and small workers.
Write letters to your Members of Parliament and the Minister of Commerce, Government of India demanding National and multi-national (WTO) trade policies that safeguard the interests of Indian tea producers and consumers.
Promote Tea – ‘Tea is a Health Drink’.

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