Climate change mitigation

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the Kenyan tea sector

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.

To understand where tea-processing factories could cut energy Farmers are taught how to make & use compostuse, climate emissions, and costs, we first conducted a pilot study at a processing factory. This included an energy audit as well as expert advice on ways to increase energy efficiency and alternative energy sources with lower footprints. Measures included: 

  • Upgrading fans used in the withering (drying) process
  • Replacing lighting with low energy alternatives
  • Drying fuel wood to be used in furnaces
  • 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 including:

  • Appropriate application and dosage of fertiliser
  • Reduction of fuel wood by installing energy efficient stoves
  • 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%)
  • 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 

  • Energy saving stoves reduce fuel wood useAbout 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 – this means:
  • They cause less deforestation & pollution of rivers
  • Use 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. 

*The International Trade Centre is a joint organisation of the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation