How to mitigate to climate change in the tea sector(1)

29 April 2014
ITC News
ITC has developed a training manual on “Mitigating climate change in the tea sector”. The manual shows tea farmers and factories how to lower their emissions and reduce their energy costs.

Climate change is having a significant impact on the tea sector. Increasing temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and increased frequency of extreme weather events are affecting both the quality and quantity of tea produced. Consumers, particularly from developed economies are demanding environmentally friendly and low carbon products. Although this provides an opportunity to increase efficiency in the supply chain, it also results in SMEs facing higher costs and greater technical requirements in order to comply with carbon standards.

ITC in partnership with Ethical Tea Partnership, Rainforest Alliance and FLO-Cert have developed a manual that provides steps and resources to support the tea sector in addressing climate change mitigation and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The manual is divided into three main parts aimed at tea factory management, tea farmers and advice on the measurement of carbon footprint of tea production.

The manual was piloted in Chinga tea factory in Kenya's Central Province. Currently 9000 smallholder tea farmers supply Chinga and are the main shareholders. ITC trained staff on the manual and developed an action plan. The implementation of the manual led to:

  • Decline in energy costs from 8.08 Kenya shillings (Ksh) in December 2012, to 6.04 Ksh in December 2013
  • Higher machine efficiency as a result of purchasing new motors with better performance,
  • Better practices for storing and using fire wood which has led to higher calorific value of the wood, as well as lower costs for firewood to produce one kg of tea.

The next phase of this project will include training additional factories in Kenya as well as scaling to Uganda’s tea sector. The manual will help East Africa’s tea factories mitigate climate risks and reduce emissions.

Want to learn more? Watch video on Kenyan tea farmers experience on how to address climate change.