Major tea producing countries have decided to get together on a global platform, called the International Tea Producers’ Forum (ITPF). It will be headquartered at Colombo for now. The participation of China is uncertain as of now.

One of the main aims of the new body would be research on issues such as impact of climate change on tea production and to promote tea as a preferred beverage across the globe.

The decision to form a global body was taken at a ministerial-level meeting in Colombo on January 21.

Countries which participated at the meeting include Kenya, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malawi, Rwanda and China. However, enquiries with senior tea industry representatives present at the meeting revealed that China had not sent a minister but only a representative to the meeting, and the official seal of approval to the country’s participation is not clear until now.

D. Purandeswari, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, headed the 15-member Indian tea delegation.

The meeting discussed the draft constitution of the ITPF and members resolved to adopt it, subject to ratification of their respective governments, a Tea Board of India release said.

The forum would make it possible to share technology and expertise among member countries. It would also stimulate demand for tea by promoting tea consumption through generic promotional campaigns. Industry sources said that it would also share market data.

Chairman of the Tea Board of India M. G. V. K. Bhanu said that the idea was that all tea producing countries should work jointly on various issues facing the industry to improve its sustainability.