Italy: The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of United Nations (UN) has recognised tea cultivation sites of China, Japan and Korea as its four Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS). The all-Asian feature by FAO includes two tea cultivation sites from China- world's largest tea producing country, and one each from Japan and Korea.
It is worth mentioning that India which serves as the world's second largest tea producer did not find any mention in this list. Despite having a rich tradition of tea plantation across different states of India, the country's history in cultivating tea does not go as back as the recognised FAO countries. Tea is produced in the states of Assam, West Bengal and Kerala among others in India. Moreover, tea produced in India is largely exported to several countries of the world, making it one of the most important cash crops of the country.
The organisation while selecting the globally important cultivation sites focused on the idea of sustainability and past traditions as prime factors. As such, some of the oldest tea producing sites in the world found the recognition from Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).
The first among these sites is the Pu'er Traditional Tea Agrosystem in China. According to FAO, this site is one of the largest as well as one of the oldest tea cultivation sites of the country. The second site is the Fuzhou Jasmine tea site in China. According to information on the FAO website, the tradition of tea plantation here dates back to more than 2000 years, making it one of the oldest sites of tea production.
When it comes to Japan and Korea, the GIAHS recognition goes to the Traditional Tree Grass system in Shizuoka and Traditional Hadong Tea Agrosystem respectively. Notably, the tea planters on the Japan site use Chagusaba technique in the production of tea which is considered to be very sustainable by nature. As per the official information on the FAO website, the Korean tea cultivation site has a 1200 years old tradition of tea plantation.