China vowed to work with all parties to nurture the sustained and healthy development of the global tea industry on Thursday, the first International Tea Day.
In a letter expressing warm congratulations on a series of activities marking the day, President Xi Jinping said that as a major producer and consumer of tea, China will work to deepen cultural exchanges surrounding tea and allow more people to enjoy lives accompanied by tea.
In December, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution that designated May 21 as International Tea Day. The resolution suggested observing the day through education and activities to raise public awareness of the importance of tea for rural development and sustainable livelihoods.
Saying that tea originated in China and became popular around the world, Xi added that the UN's decision showed the global community's recognition of and emphasis on the value of tea, and that the move is significant for revitalizing the tea industry and carrying forward tea culture.
Tea is one of the three major drinks in the world, produced in more than 60 countries and regions and enjoyed by over 2 billion people, Xinhua News Agency reported.
"The letter sent by President Xi is a real inspiration for us, and I am now more confident in a bright future for Chinese tea," said Jin Weiqiang, a farmer who has been growing Longjing tea, a well-known green tea, in Meijiawu village in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, for 25 years.
As Chinese tea sees growing international recognition, Jin expected that there would be more platforms and activities for Chinese tea-growers to expand in domestic and foreign markets, and more government policies to support the industry.
Wei Yuede, a merchant with Anxi Tieguanyin, a renowned tea that originated in Anxi county, Fujian province, said International Tea Day will help to increase the income of growers by attracting more clients and lead to production of higher-quality tea.
Wei's family has made their living from tea for generations, and his forefathers even sold tea along the ancient Silk Road. Wei, 56, has been engaged in the industry for over four decades.
International Tea Day will encourage farmers to study tea consumption more closely to attract more young people, who often choose carbonated beverages, he said.