Mr Li Xuda, Cultural Counselor of the Chinese Embassy and Director of China Cultural Center in Nigeria (CCCNIG), has said that tea brings people together and promotes cultural exchanges among countries.
He said this at an event on “Tea for Harmony” at the Yaji Cultural Salon in Abuja. The event was hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China, and the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria.
It was also co-organised by China International Culture Association and the Sichuan Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism.
The envoy explained that through the ancient Silk Road, the three main commodities transported from China to foreign countries were silk, tea and porcelain.
“In fact, tea is deeply woven into the history and culture of China. It is considered one of the seven necessities of Chinese people’s daily life during the past thousands of years, along with firewood, rice, oil, salt, soy sauce and vinegar.
“Nowadays, tea has not only become a popular drink around the world, but also acted as a special language of global communication. In every country, lots of people like to drink tea with their family members and friends. It is no exaggeration to say that drinking tea has become an important way of enjoying leisure time and social interaction for many people,” he said.
He added that both China and Nigeria treasured the harmony in relations with nature and people, promoting ethnic and religious harmony year by year.
According to him, in China, it is generally accepted that harmony is the most important traditional value facilitating personal growth and social progress.
“Tea creates harmony, promotes harmonious relationships and mutual appreciation among the people all over the world.”
Li noted that the event was an opportunity to share unique and profound Chinese culture, fragrance, and good taste of Chinese tea.
Also speaking, Mr Muhammed Suleiman, President, the Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA), said that tea could be used for medicinal or “for the flavours.”
Suleiman, also the President, China Alumni Association of Nigeria (CAAN), said that tea was an industry with several value-added chains.
“It is an industry that beyond taking the tea, also gives alternatives; just like what makes money is not just the consumption of the tea, but there are ceramic wares, utensils and all prepared with it. It is an industry that has many value chains so it makes up for what it is.”
Mr Quadiri-adu Kehinde, President, Afro-Carribbean Chamber of Culture and Tourism, also said that tea was a unifying product.
“It is time to promote what we have. We should really cultivate tea and do it the way it should be done and it will increase the GDP. Because of oil, we have jettisoned many value adding products in Nigeria.
“The Chinese Embassy is showing us that there are things we can use to improve the economy and to take the country to the next level. Nigeria has good land and it is time Nigerians think of what they can do for themselves and the country.”
Kehinde also urged citizens and the government to further harness the industry.