Improving energy efficiency in Kenya’s tea factories

The tea industry is a major employer in Kenya, with three million people working in the sector. The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) is a national farmer organisation that manages 68 tea factories in the country on behalf of 600,000 small-scale farmers.

The context

The tea industry is a major employer in Kenya, with three million people working in the sector. The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) is a national farmer organisation that manages 68 tea factories in the country on behalf of 600,000 small-scale farmers. Collectively they produce a significant amount of Kenya’s tea.

Typically energy use accounts for over 50% of the cost of tea production, and prices are rising. Many factories use old equipment and don’t have good energy management policies in place, so there is scope to support them to operate more efficiently.

As all KTDA farmers have an ownership stake in the factories, a reduction in operating costs directly benefits them. Every Kenyan Shilling saved on energy use in the factory is money that goes to farmers.

Our aims

Our aim is to reduce energy consumption, CO2 emissions and costs in KTDA’s tea factories – and consequently improve farmers’ incomes.

ETP has a long-standing partnership with GIZ and KTDA to deliver climate change and energy efficiency initiatives in Kenya.

Our impact

We have made real progress in our energy efficiency initiatives in Kenya. To date, our programmes are already saving 300,000 trees and $3.8 million a year. All the money that is saved goes directly to tea farmers. All 68 KTDA factories have reduced their electricity use by nearly 10% and lowered their biomass consumption by 13%.

We develop and run specialised training for staff at all levels in the factories, bespoke to the issues at their place of work. By embedding understanding, we encourage long-term commitment to energy-efficiency initiatives.

By 2020, we aim to have improved the energy efficiency across all of KTDA’s 68 factories. This will mean that 600,000 farmers will be able to make more money from the tea they grow.

Global reach

Across Asia, we are also supporting the tea industry to reduce its energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Driving long-term change, we convene factory CEOs to engage with energy-efficiency issues. To date, major tea factories across Indonesia and Sri Lanka have collectively committed to energy saving plans.

Find out more

Read more about how we’re supporting farmers to become more resilient to climate change in Kenya here.

Take a look at ETP’s resources to learn more about our environmental programmes. 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.

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