Asia Tea Alliance Unveils Five-Point Action Plan for a Sustainable and Prosperous Tea Industry

By : Nina Karlita | Friday, August 25 2023 - 19:35 IWST

The Asia Tea Alliance (ATA)
The Asia Tea Alliance (ATA) - 23 August 2023, Bandung, Indonesia – The Asia Tea Alliance (ATA), a coalition of preeminent tea organisations from the major tea-producing nations of Asia, announced a comprehensive five-point action plan at their third Annual Meeting in Bandung, Indonesia.

The plan envisions fostering economically efficient, environmentally sustainable tea production and trade, whilst enhancing working conditions at plantations. The meeting was inaugurated by Dr Musdhalifah Machmud, Deputy Minister, Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, Republic of Indonesia

Set against the backdrop of the multifaceted challenges faced by tea producers across Asia, the plan recognises the vital role of tea in rural development and as a livelihood for millions. The industry is grappling with the increasing impact of climate change, price stagnation, high labour and input costs, oversupply, high transaction costs, and challenges in fair price discovery, all of which are adversely affecting the tea sector on social, economic, and environmental fronts.

The Asia-wide tea producers’ collaboration will focus on these five key areas.

Promoting Sustainable Consumption: To bolster the global consumption of sustainable green and black tea through joint events and consumer education; Legal and Policy Alignment: Collaborate with government and regulatory authorities to create a favourable legal and policy environment, aligning the tea industry’s business goals with public policy objectives; Carbon Production and Reduction: Develop a coordinated approach for Asian tea producers to innovate carbon production and reduction technologies, ensuring fair pricing for carbon in-setting and off-setting; Scientific Collaboration: Initiate an Asia-wide scientific partnership to fast-track genetic improvement in tea, leading to the development of resilient varieties to combat climate change; Comprehensive Support: Provide assistance to Members and non-Members on quality, technical, financial, market, and other business issues in tea-producing countries and, when appropriate, globally.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chairperson of the Asia Tea Alliance, Ms Nayantara Palchoudhuri, emphasised: “While consumer demand for ethical tea is growing, the economic sustainability for tea producers is often overlooked. Producers are burdened with environmental stewardship, increased productivity, traceability, and social responsibility—tasks requiring more labour, capital, and reporting.”

Mr Rachmad Gunadi, Chairman of the Indonesia Tea Board, added: “This alliance fosters economic growth and innovation, promotes sustainable practices in line with international standards, and paves the way for a more resilient, equitable, and prosperous tea industry that benefits all stakeholders.”

Solidaridad, the global civil society organisation and neutral convener of the ATA, aims to create transformational change for the tea community. Shatadru Chattopadhayay, Managing Director of Solidaridad Asia, highlighted the potential of generating additional revenue through carbon credits.  “Carbon-positive supply chains are the new sustainability narrative, A fair price for the ecosystem service small tea growers provide could go a long way,” he said.

The ATA delegation, representing China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, also visited the smallholder tea producers of Indonesia and engaged with Indonesia’s apex association of tea smallholders, Paguyuban Tani Lestari (Lestari tea smallholder association).

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