Surviving climate change - lessons from adaptation in Kenya’s tea sector (en)
Kenya is witnessing changing weather patterns, which include increasing temperatures, decreasing rainfall and increases in the propensity of hail, droughts and frosts. Tea is a crop that is particularly dependent on well distributed rainfall and thus such changes pose a threat to tea supply chains globally with the biggest impact falling on smallholder tea farmers.
The impacts of climate change are already being felt amongst Kenyan tea farmers through reduced quality and quantity of tea leaves. ITC, in partnership with Ethical Tea Partnership complimented the mitigation work on climate change by training tea farmers on adaptation techniques. This was done through KTDA Farmer field schools. Two trainings were conducted with Tea Extension Services Assistants (TESA) and Field Service Coordinators (FSC) from East and West of the Rift Valley with the goal of increasing resilience to climate change through securing future livelihoods and making these livelihoods more environmentally and economically sustainable.
72 TESAs and FSCs from the east and the west of the Rift Valley were sensitised to climate change using classroom training, group work and Q&A. Here the participants learnt of the impacts of climate change particularly on tea suitability predictions as well as the causes, problems and global response. Farmers also learnt different adaptation and mitigation activities at the farm level including conservation farming (double digging, mulching, crop rotation, 5- 9 seeds per hole etc.). Field work and discussions were also had on different strategies including natural pest control, high nutritious food to grow in gardens as well as the use of energy efficient stoves.
At the end of the training, all participants worked together to come up with strategies to adapt climate change at farmer level. This strategy focussed on making TESAs and FSCs act as multiplying agents. Each factory has 9000-10,000 farmers and thus the TESAs and FSCs have the responsibility of training these farmers through farmer field schools. It is estimated that 126,000 farmers will receive this training
Learn more? Watch video on Kenyan tea farmers experience on how to address climate change.