Action on Climate

Climate Week 2019 (23 – 29 September)

This Climate Week, we are reflecting on how the Ethical Tea Partnership is supporting tea communities in Africa and Asia to become ‘fit for the future’ by helping smallholder tea farmers build resilience to climate change into their everyday farming practices and future planning.

Credit: Andy Hall

Climate change has serious implications for the tea sector and the tea farmers who rely on it for their living and to support their families. Its effects will impact how and where tea can be grown. Deforestation is another major threat as it magnifies the effects of climate change, bringing further negative consequences for tea communities. Smallholder tea farmers are particularly vulnerable to both these issues and are the main focus of our work.

We will be sharing, during Climate Week, how our climate change related programmes with tea farmers and communities in Malawi, Kenya and Rwanda are reducing their vulnerability to its risks through activities such as long-term planning, tree planting, rainwater storage, access to renewable energy, crop diversification and energy efficiency measures.

Each day will focus on a different theme:

Credit: Andy Hall

Monday – Solar Lamps  

Solar lamps and products are transforming and enriching the lives of tea farmers and their families in Malawi by enabling study, play, communication and healthier lifestyles – while reducing energy consumption and deforestation. We share the stories of three farmers and their families whose lives have been improved by access to solar technology.

Credit: Andy Hall

Tuesday – Tree Planting

ETP is working with tea communities in Malawi, Kenya and Rwanda on tree planting programmes to help combat deforestation and soil erosion. Trees provide one of the most effective defences against the worst impacts of climate-related flash flooding and soil erosion.

Credit: Andy Hall

Wednesday – Farmer Field Schools

ETP works through Farmer Field Schools to support tea farmers to develop the most effective agricultural practices and techniques. Tea farmers learn how to grow more and better quality tea, increasing how much they can earn from their land. As part of the curriculum, the farmers also learn about climate change, its causes, effects as well as mitigation and adaptation techniques. There are currently Farmer Field Schools active in Malawi, Kenya, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, India and China.

Credit: Andy Hall

Thursday – Energy Efficiency

Becoming more energy efficient is one of the important ways that the tea sector can build resilience for the future. ETP is working with partners in Kenya and Rwanda to implement energy efficiency measures in tea factories. These measures bring several benefits such a lower production costs, increased income for farmers, reduced demand for firewood, saving trees and cutting CO2 emissions.