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World Climate to ravage Kenya's tea production

04:05  10 may  2021
04:05  10 may  2021 Source:   afp.com

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Paris (AFP) - Climate change is set to devastate Kenya ’ s tea production as the world’s largest exporter faces rising temperatures, erratic rainfall and insect infestations, according to analysis released on Monday. Tea is the world’s most consumed drink after water and disruption in supply from the east African nation is predicted to have a global impact. A report from the charity Christian Aid outlined the various threats Kenya faces to its key black tea crop, as well as the dangers that other countries are likely to encounter as the planet continues to warm.

Tea is a major profit that has grown in Kenya . Kenyan tea has been the leading major foreign exchange earner for the country. Most tea produced in Kenya is black tea , with green tea , yellow tea , and white tea produced on order by major tea producers.

Climate change is set to devastate Kenya's tea production as the world's largest exporter faces rising temperatures, erratic rainfall and insect infestations, according to analysis released on Monday.

a group of people in the water: Tea is the world's most consumed drink after water and disruption in supply from the east African nation is predicted to have a global impact © Yasuyoshi CHIBA Tea is the world's most consumed drink after water and disruption in supply from the east African nation is predicted to have a global impact

Tea is the world's most consumed drink after water and disruption in supply from the east African nation is predicted to have a global impact.

A report from the charity Christian Aid outlined the various threats Kenya faces to its key black tea crop, as well as the dangers that other countries are likely to encounter as the planet continues to warm.

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Kenyan tea has become competitive in the international market making it to be one of the country' s main exports. The current climatic changes are making tea production to be unpredictable (N’Ethagatha & Linne 2008). According to two professional scholars Andrew Hoffman and John Woody (2008), it is vital for business organizations to consider climate change as a market issue and not only as an environmental issue.

4.2. Kenya ’ s tea sector: Developing an evidence-based climate -smart strategy 13. 4.3. Morocco: mainstreaming climate adaptation within the Green Morocco Plan. 1. Introduction 2. Recent climate change trends in Kenya 3. Shifts in the suitability of tea production areas (brown lines) 4. Tea production and weather parametres. 4.1. Temperature variability 5. Climate change impacts on tea .

Citing a peer-reviewed study, the report said that the quadruple threat of rising temperatures, erratic rainfall, droughts and new insect infestations are forecast to destroy 26.2 percent of the country's optimal tea growing areas by 2050.

And climate change is expected to reduce the areas with medium quality growing conditions by nearly 40 percent in the same time frame.

"For generations we have carefully cultivated our tea farms and we are proud that the tea that we grow here is the best in the world," said Richard Koskei, a tea farmer from Kenya's western highlands.

"But climate change poses a real threat to us. We cannot predict seasons anymore, temperatures are rising, and rainfall is more erratic."

Karimi Kinoti, head of Christian Aid's Africa division, said tea was just another example of how people living in countries least responsible for the climate crisis are bearing the heaviest burden.

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Currently, the main tea - producing areas in Kenya are located in the central region around Mount Kenya and between the Rift Valley and Nyanza in the west (Figure 7). According to the MAXENT model, the most suitable of them are concentrated in the higher areas of districts: Meru, Embu, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Murangá, Kiambu, Kisii In 2050 tea production according to its climate -suitability is predicted to be more concentrated in Central Kenya (Figure 9). In this region, areas with high suitable will expand. The western region in general is anticipated to have a lower suitability level.

Given its economic importance, tea production in Kenya faces many challenges from the impact of climate change, to raising concerns over its long-term viability. Already tea producers are coping with reduced, erratic rainfall, hail and frost as well as rising temperatures that deeply affect yields and productivity. Over 500,000 smallholder tea producers are confronting enormous uncertainty about their livelihoods. The Kenyan government has acknowledged climate change is a real threat to the country’ s development agenda and has formulated a framework for intervention.

"Africans make up 17 percent of the world's population but we generate just four percent of the greenhouse gas emissions that have caused the climate crisis,"  she said.

"And yet it is we who are suffering the brunt of the impacts of climate change."

- 'World will be watching' -

The report warned that the livelihoods of more than three million people in Kenya's tea industry would come under threat in the next two decades.

Britain, the biggest per capita tea consumer, is set to host crunch UN climate talks in Glasgow in November.

Mohamed Adow, director of the Power Shift Africa climate and energy think tank, said the COP26 negotiations presented a vital opportunity for richer nations to provide proper support for poorer ones already having to adapt to climate change.

"As a major historical polluter and the creator of the industrial revolution the UK has played a big part in the climate emergency which we Kenyans are suffering from," he said.

"This year, as hosts of the G7 and COP26, the UK has a big role to play in tackling it.

"The whole world will be watching, especially Kenyan tea farmers and other people on the front lines of the climate crisis," added Adow.

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