DUBAI, DMCC, the world's leading free zone for commodities trade and enterprise, is set to gather industry experts on the first day of the 7th edition of the Global Dubai Tea Forum, entitled "Brewing the Future of Trade."

The global tea industry is undergoing unprecedented challenges and continuous change, from shifting consumer demands and habits, climate change and limitations on resources, to a lack of investment in new varieties and the mechanisation of farming. These, and other issues, are putting pressure on the industry, which must adapt in order to create a sustainable future. This will be widely discussed on the first day of the Global Dubai Tea Forum.

A panel is to discuss "Producing Countries - Growth and Challenges," which will be moderated by Sanjay Sethi, Managing Director and Tea Consultant, Gundlach Packaging, and will address challenges and opportunities.

Regarding the gathering, Sanjeev Dutta, Executive Director, Commodities - DMCC, said, "Addressing the challenges facing producing countries is central to identifying new growth opportunities, and we look forward to an insightful debate on this from the industry experts attending our Global Dubai Tea Forum in April."

Azam Monem, Director at McLeod Russel India Ltd. and the Indian Tea Association, and former Chairman of the Calcutta Tea Traders Association, said, "The tea industry is undergoing constant change in the major producing countries. There are agricultural issues, such as farming the land in an environmentally responsible way, soil improvement, water and pest management, planting shade trees and complementary crops, problems associated with climate change, rising production costs as workers demand fair wages, and social issues. Producer states really have a large number of issues to deal with and we shall be looking at them in depth."

The increasing impact of climate change is creating unpredictable harvests, and that means many small-scale tea growers are struggling to plan for the future. Tea bushes yield the best-quality tea between 18 and 32 degrees Celsius, so if global warming causes temperatures to rise by 2 degrees Celsius, large areas of East Africa, which have perfect conditions for growing tea, would become unsuitable.

Regarding global concerns, Mohit Agarwal, Group Director, Asian Tea Group, commented, "The global tea industry is facing many challenges today the most important being the change in weather conditions affecting production patterns and the rising cost of production precipitated by increasing labour wages and compliance costs. Sustainability for the organised sector is in question here. It will be very interesting to hear the views of not only the producers, but also buyers, in this forum on how to face and overcome these challenges."

Source: Emirates News Agency