CCP: 2001/4 (CCP: TE 99/10)


 

COMMITTEE ON COMMODITY PROBLEMS

Sixty-third Session

REPORT OF THE THIRTEENTH SESSION OF THE
INTERGOVERNMENTAL GROUP ON TEA
(Ottawa, Canada, 27-29 September 1999)

Table of Contents


APPENDIX - LIST OF DOCUMENTS

 


 

I. INTRODUCTION

1. The Intergovernmental Group on Tea held its Thirteenth Session at the Ottawa Congress Centre from 27-29 September 1999 in Ottawa, Canada. It was attended by the following member countries: Argentina, Canada, China, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, United Kingdom and United States of America. In addition, observers from the following organizations attended: the World Bank, the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) and the International Tea Committee (ITC). The United Kingdom Tea Council attended as Project Executing Agency (PEA) for the project on tea and health. A list of participants was distributed as document CCP: TE 99/Inf.3.

2. The statement of the Director-General, Mr Jacques Diouf, was delivered on his behalf by Ms Paola Fortucci, Chief of the Raw Materials, Tropical and Horticultural Products Service, and the Session was opened by Ms Danielle O'Rourke, President of the Tea Council of Canada.

3. The Honourable Lyle Vanclief, Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, welcomed the delegates and commended them on their work. He further stressed Canada's long and close relationship with FAO and its continued commitment.

4. The Group expressed warm appreciation to the Government of Canada and particularly to the Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Tea Council of Canada for the hospitality provided to delegates and for the opportunity to meet and strengthen international cooperation and interaction among major tea exporting and importing countries.

5. The Group elected Ms Danielle O'Rourke (Canada) as Chairperson, Mr S.S. Ahuja (India) as First Vice-Chairperson and Mr Hagen Streichert (Germany) as Second Vice-Chairperson. The Group agreed that Messrs Martin Kushner (United States of America) and Vinay Goenka (India) should act as Rapporteurs.

6. The Provisional Agenda, CCP: TE 99/1 was adopted.

II. REVIEW OF SHORT AND MEDIUM-TERM
MARKET PROSPECTS

7. The Group reviewed the short-term outlook with the assistance of background document CCP: TE 99/2 and the medium-term prospects to 2005 with the assistance of background document CCP: TE 99/3.

8. Several delegations provided additional information regarding the tea sectors in their countries. The delegates of some major producing countries indicated that their expectations of growth in production and export availabilities were considerably more optimistic than those in the Secretariat's medium-term assessment. It was also pointed out that demand growth may have been underestimated since the impact of the project on tea and human health had not been taken into account.

9. The Group concluded that continued efforts to enhance the growth of demand were needed in order to improve and strengthen longer-term price prospects. It was pointed out that rising costs of inputs had contributed to deteriorating returns to producers and that a continuation of this trend could also adversely affect tea quality. In seeking to enhance the growth of demand, the Group considered that there was a need to continue to analyze the underlying factors affecting the development of individual markets, both new markets and major traditional markets where consumption had stagnated. Some delegates indicated that there was a need for greater market access. The Group recommended that the Secretariat closely monitor market developments, including market access issues and new uses of tea, and report to its next session.

III. MARKET DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES

10. The Group reviewed with interest market developments in North America (CCP: TE 99/CRS2) and in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Baltic States (CCP: TE 99/5) and requested that the Secretariat continue to analyze markets of interest. The Group noted the increasing market segmentation in North America, which reflected the growing demand for premium and speciality teas. It also noted the greater demand prospects arising from the positive results of research into the health benefits of black tea. The Group further noted that trade liberalization in the former USSR had brought new trends to the market, which included imports from outside the CIS and Baltic States as well as the growing demand for high quality and retail-packed teas.

11. The International Tea Committee (ITC) informed the Group that quarterly imports of tea by countries of origin for Russian Federation were received from the State Customs Committee and annual imports by countries of origin relating to several states were received from the Inter-state Committee of the CIS. A document showing annual imports to Russian Federation and CIS upto 1998 was tabled for circulation.

12. The Group examined the relevance of risk management tools for the tea trade with the assistance of document CCP: TE 99/6. One delegate expressed an interest in adapting the concept of risk management in its marketing efforts to respond to the change in payment systems where foreign exchange is scarce. However, most felt that the current trading system had served the industry well and did not see the need to change. Furthermore, the absence of accepted quality standards would make futures trading difficult to establish.

IV. INTERGOVERNMENTAL ACTION

A. TEA CONSUMPTION AND HUMAN HEALTH PROJECT

13. The Group was informed by the Project Executing Agency of the achievements under the project "Tea Consumption and Human Health" to be concluded at the end of 1999. With regard to the programme of research on the health aspects of black tea consumption, it was reported that the main objectives of the project had been met. The research results had been generally favourable to date. The Group was informed of the specific results obtained in the main study areas of black tea, including possible prevention of cancer and cardiovascular diseases and in promoting oral health. It was noted that significant credible data had been generated and published in scientific journals and had also stimulated further research on health-related issues.

14. The Group was informed of the marketing strategy for developing a demand-enhancing programme for tea focused on a Tea Mark with a comprehensive communication package. This phase of the project was near completion. The Tea Mark had been fully developed, researched and market tested and had been registered in some 31 countries. A comprehensive Brand Manual had been developed to govern the administration and control system for the use of the Tea Mark in the test markets. The representative of the PEA stressed that the Tea Mark could not stand alone but must instead be fully supported with a comprehensive marketing package.

15. Four markets (Indonesia, Spain, Zimbabwe, and the Czech Republic) had been used to comprehensively test the communication package. These test markets had been successfully completed with Zimbabwe and the Czech Republic giving particularly positive results: Zimbabwe showed a 52 percent recall of the tea and health message and a 12 percent weekly consumption increase in the target group, while in the Czech Republic a 28 percentage point gain in perception of tea as a healthy lifestyle drink had been realized. The programme had prompted the offer of financial support from the packers in both of these markets on an equally shared basis (the Czech Republic US$500 000 of the total media cost of US$1 000 000 and Zimbabwe contributing US$50 000 of US$100 000). The PEA strongly recommended following up on these opportunities. Also, it recommended opening a further test market in Denmark at a cost of US$25 000 in the year 2000 and US$860 000 in 2001. The PEA stressed that the consolidation of the experience gained from the test marketing was necessary.

16. With respect to the recommendations of the PEA, the Group expressed the need to firstly review the final results of the project, particularly the impact of the communications package on tea consumption before making a decision on these. In this connection, the Group extended the life of its Steering Committee until its next session in order to carryout this review and requested the PEA to include data on the impact of the communications package on consumption in its final report to be evaluated by the Supervisory Body. The Group expressed the hope that the review would be carried out within the next 6 months in order to maintain the momentum of work in this area.

17. The Group expressed satisfaction with the results of the project and commended the work carried out by the PEA. Some suggestions were made regarding follow-up activities, in particular the need for continued research and also consumer education programmes to optimize nutrition and health benefits. In promotion activities, attention was drawn to the potential value of broad-based regional approaches.

18. The Group recalled the decision taken at its Twelfth Session that in pursuance of the overall objectives of the project, ownership of the communications device would continue to be retained by the FAO on behalf of the Intergovernmental Group and its members as well as the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC). This would be reflected in the revised Brand Manual and other documents.

19. Following the recommendations of the Steering Committee on the arrangements for future use of the Tea Mark, the Group agreed that:

a) Institutional arrangements

b) Eligibility

c) Funding

d) Review after 12 months

B. PROJECT PROPOSALS

20. The Group considered 3 project profiles as contained in document CCP: TE 99/9. Two of the projects, "In Search of Reliable Parameters and Their Use as Objective Quality Indicators in Black Tea" and "Studies on Development of Tea Machineries" were identified as potential candidates for "fast track" financing by the CFC as their overall costs were low. However, co-financing from the sponsoring countries would be required. The third project, "Development, Production and Promotion of Organic Tea in the World", might also qualify for Common Fund financing but would need a loan component built into the proposal. The Group endorsed all three proposals for submission to the Common Fund for Commodities, and requested the Secretariat to make necessary revisions, in consultation with the CFC and sponsoring countries. A request was made to develop a standard method of determining flavonoids which would be included in the experimental programme for the enhancement of flavonoid content in clonal selection and the manufacturing process.

C. OTHER INTERNATIONAL ACTION

21. The Group considered that the proposal to convene an International Beverages Conference as outlined in CCP: TE 99/7 did not respond to the priorities of members and recommended instead that a conference be held on Tea and Health in conjunction with its Fourteenth Session. In noting that such a conference should be accommodated within the regular budgetary resources made available for work on tea, the Group requested the Secretariat to explore the possibilities of organizing such a conference in cooperation with member countries.

V. OTHER MATTERS

22. The Group noted the concerns expressed by several delegates regarding chemical residue levels on tea and their possible effects on consumption. It therefore recommended that an initiative involving closer cooperation among tea producers, traders, boards, associations and other organizations involved with tea be explored. It urged each member country to provide their standards on maximum residue levels (MRLs) to the Secretariat in order that an analysis of these vis vis CODEX be undertaken and appropriate recommendations, including suggestions of good agricultural practices be made. The resultant information and report would be presented to the Group for consideration and might also provide inputs to the Conference on Tea and Health.

23. A request was made by several delegates for copies of the videotapes presented during the Session.

24. The delegation of India extended a warm welcome and invitation to all delegates and representatives, including international organizations, to attend the Millennium Tea Convention on 22-24 March 2000 in New Delhi, India.

VI. DATE AND PLACE OF THE FOURTEENTH SESSION

25. The Group was informed that, the date and place of the Fourteenth Session would be determined by the Director-General in consultation with the Chairperson. It noted with appreciation the offer of the delegates of India and Egypt to host this session.

 


 

APPENDIX

LIST OF DOCUMENTS

 

CCP: TE99/1 Provisional Agenda
CCP: TE99/2 Current situation and short-term outlook
CCP: TE99/3 Medium-term outlook for black tea
CCP: TE99/4 Market developments and prospects in the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic States
CCP: TE99/5 Dealing with price risks
CCP: TE99/6 The administrative mechanism for the use of the Tea Mark
CCP: TE99/7 International Beverages Conference
CCP: TE99/8 Extract from the Report of the Sixty-second Session of the Committee on Commodity Problems (Rome, 12-15 January 1999)
CCP: TE99/9 Project profiles for consideration by the Group for submission to the Common Fund for Commodities
 

Information documents

CCP: TE99/Inf.1 Information note on arrangements
CCP: TE99/Inf.2 Statement of competence and voting rights submitted by the European Community (EC) and its Member States
CCP: TE99/Inf.3 List of delegates and observers
 

Conference Room Series

CCP: TE99/CRS.1 The Tea Mark Manual
CCP: TE99/CRS.2 The North American tea market
CCP: TE99/CRS.3 Current tea industry in Indonesia
CCP: TE99/CRS.4 Test market executive summary
CCP: TE99/CRS.5 Summary report of research (September 1999)
CCP: TE99/CRS.6 Present situation and development of China tea production
CCP: TE99/CRS.7 Commonwealth of Independent States data