Trade and markets


Tea is a beverage made from the Camellia sinesis plant (as opposed to herbal "teas" which are infusions made from plants that have nothing to do with Camellia sinesis). Tea is the world’s most consumed drink, after water. It is believed that tea originated in northeast India, north Burma and southwest China, but the exact place where the plant first grew is not known. Tea has been with us for a long time. There is evidence that tea was consumed in China 5 000 years ago, during the Qin Dynasty.

Report of the Working Group on Climate Change of the FAO Intergovernmental Group on Tea
This compilation of adaptation strategies for tea cultivation developed and practiced by major tea growing countries of the world, is the first step taken by the working group on climate change of the FAO-IGG on tea to minimize climate change impacts on tea plantations. It is a joint effort by the scientists of Tea Research Institute of India, Sri Lanka, Kenya and China supported by the FAO-IGG on tea in Rome.

Kenya's Tea Sector under Climate Change: An impact assessment and formulation of a climate-smart strategy
Changing weather patterns in Kenya are increasingly being experienced within agricultural systems, including by farmers. In Kenya, there is particular concern with regard to the effects of climate change on tea – an extremely important sector for the economy. Tea producers already are facing reduced and erratic rainfall, a higher rate of hail or frost and rising temperatures that heavily affect yields and productivity levels. Over 500 000 smallholder tea producers are facing increased uncertainty about their livelihoods in the future. The challenge of climate change is raising concern at the policy level over the long-term viability of the tea value chain.

World tea production and trade: Current and future development
This document constitutes an overview of the current production and trade situation for tea, as well as medium term projections to 2023.

Implications of Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) on tea trade
This document summarises current regulations and trade, and examines the MRL-trade interaction of China, a major tea exporting country. The document also addresses the welfare implications on consumers and producers.

Socio-economic implications of climate change for tea producing countries
Tea plays a significant role in rural development, poverty reduction and food security in developing countries and is one of the most important cash crops in the world. Climate change impacts greatly on tea growth and production as tea is mainly grown under rain-fed mono-cropping systems and weather conditions determine optimal growth. 

Contribution of tea production and exports to food security, rural development and smallholder welfare in selected producing countries
In the case of tea, production and exports generate foreign exchange and employment and provide a material base for national economic growth. In particular, they make significant contributions to food security by helping to cover food import bills.

External links

  • Tea Council
    The world's largest resource of tea and health related information
  • Tea Advisory Panel
    Provides independent and objective information about the latest health benefits regarding black tea