In Kenya, energy and labour at processing factories account for 55% of the cost of tea production. Fuel wood is one of the biggest costs with the average tea factory using 20,000 cubic meters of firewood annually, which equates to about 60,000 trees. The majority of processing factories are equipped with old equipment (lighting, furnaces, boilers etc) and don’t have good energy management policies in place, which means they don’t operate efficiently. This means there is huge scope for them to reduce energy consumption, CO2 emissions, and costs.
How We’re Helping
The International Trade Centre (ITC)* commissioned us to develop resources that would help Kenyan tea farmers and processing factories reduce their impact on climate change. In order to do this we looked at ways to improve energy efficiency, better energy management, and switching to alternative farming practices with lower carbon footprints. Due to the success of this work, we are now rolling out climate change mitigation work to other KTDA factories across Kenya.
At the start of the project we carried out a pilot study including an energy audit at a typical KTDA processing factory in order to measure energy use, CO2 emissions, and costs. Using this information energy experts looked at appropriate measures and created an energy plan to improve factory’s energy efficiency and provide a blueprint for other factories in the KTDA group and private factories across Kenya. Measures included:
- Upgrading fans used in the withering (drying) process
- Replacing lighting with low energy alternatives
- Better fuel wood management to improve heat generation
- Using alternative fuels made from waste products, e.g. briquettes
We also looked at ways that farmers could reduce their impact on climate change and ways to save money. These included:
- Appropriate application and dosage of fertiliser
- Installation of energy efficient stoves to reduce fuel wood
- Sustainable soil management and use of compost
- Livestock manure management
Using this information we developed a training manual Mitigating Climate Change in the tea sector, which can be used by other tea factories and farmers to reduce their impact on climate change.
Key achievements at factory level
- The processing factory now sources fuel wood from properly managed plantations as opposed to natural forests
- Energy efficiency gains means less energy is being used – Electricity (-2%) and Fuel wood (-34%)
- 30 acres of land has been planted with trees to provide fuel wood and another 70 has been set aside for the same purpose
- The establishment of 5 wood storage and drying sheds has improved the drying of fuel wood and reduced the requirements for tea processing
- The factory along with 4 others installed a mini hydro power station
Key achievements at smallholder level
- About 50% of the 25,000 smallholders trained by the KTDA cooperative have opted to buy energy saving stoves – this means they use less fuel, which saves them money as well as effort collecting it. The stoves also produce less smoke.
- Smallholders associated with the factory have a better understanding of climate change and have more respect for their environment – leading to less deforestation & pollution of rivers and more composting and soil improvement measures
Due to the success of the climate change mitigation pilot project, ETP has set up a number of additional projects to rollout the work across the Kenyan tea sector. ETP are now working with Taylors of Harrogate, Mars Drinks, and GIZ to rollout mitigation training to an additional 9 Kenyan Tea Development Agency (KTDA) factories. ETP are also in the process of developing partnerships with other key organisations to further improve the mitigation training approach and trial new and exciting opportunities for climate change mitigation in the Kenyan tea sector.
The pilot project was delivered in partnership with Rainforest Alliance and the Fairtrade labelling Organization (FLO), and built on our climate change adaptation work with GIZ.
The manual Mitigating Climate Change in the tea sector helps factories and farmers reduce energy consumption and climate emissions, and can help them save money.