KTDA in diversification push to cushion farmers

The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) is implementing a number of diversification activities with its farmers with a view to mitigating the revenue losses arising from climate change.

The Agency’s General Manager for Sustainable Agriculture Mr. Salesio Kaberia said besides encouraging farmers to move from the usual cutting, tearing and curling (ctc) tea to higher value speciality teas, the agency was also introducing other farming activities to boost their farmers’ incomes.

He said the agency was, for example, working to have the farmers grow Hass avocados for export while at the same promoting dairy production as a supplementary income stream.

Kaberia spoke in Embu yesterday where they witnessed the launch of the Mt Kenya Sustainable Landscape and Livelihoods Project that will see 50000 tea and coffee farmers in Embu trained on climate smart agriculture practices that will also lead to conservation of water and biodiversity conservation in the Mt Kenya water tower.

KTDA is one of the organizations working with the Rainforests Alliance and county governments in the project areas to help in the attainment of the project’s objectives.

Embu is the second county in which the project has been launched after it was launched in Kirinyaga last year.

Kaberia said KTDA’s factories have already achieved a 20 per cent reduction in the amount of wood fuel they consumed after introducing co-firing, a process that introduces alternative biomass fuels into their boilers other than the wood they have always used.

He said tea earnings had been on a downward trend due to climate change, and especially reduced and erratic rainfall, and said the agency was helping farmers to introduce more resilient, higher yielding tea clones in place of the older varieties.

He added that they were also looking at how to attract more youths into the tea business.



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