Promoting climate-smart agriculture in the Kenyan and Ugandan tea sectors

28 November 2014
ITC News
ITC works with farmers and tea factories in Kenya and Uganda to promote climate-smart agriculture and improve farmers’ livelihoods.

Many of the two million tea farmers across Kenya are facing higher temperatures and more erratic rainfall than in the past.

’When I started tea farming, harvests were bountiful, but over the years the quantity has dwindled,’ said Joyce Njeri Muchina, a tea farmer in Makomboki, 90 kilometres north of Nairobi.

Climate change is reducing yields and thus smallholder incomes. Many farmers are struggling to sustain their livelihoods. Alex Kasterine, Head of the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Trade and Environment Programme, says, ‘Farming families have less money to pay for health services, for the schooling of their children and may have to migrate to cities like Nairobi to look for work.’

In 2014, ITC, in partnership with the Kenya Tea Development Agency, facilitated two climate change adaptation training workshops for extension service providers, who interact directly with small-scale tea farmers across the country. The workshops train participants on ways to adapt to the impact of climate change on tea production systems, reduce carbon emissions and gain new technical skills for tea production.

During the workshops, participants developed an action plan and methods for implementing climate change training at the factory level and a strategy for training farmers on energy saving techniques and solar lamps. Given the success of these workshops, the trainings have been extended to four tea factories in Uganda.