• KTDA factories to use environmentally friendly energy to dry tea. Aims to achieve 30% reduction of firewood use in 12 pilot tea factories. This will save at least 156,500 trees, about 260 acres of forest plantation annually.
• Partnership with Rainforest Alliance to provide 50,000 households with cleaner energy to dry their tea.
More than 12 tea factories countrywide will use smoke-free, wood-free biomass briquettes to dry tea.
The aim is to save forests and firewood by providing smallholder tea farmers with renewable energy solutions.
Factories that will benefitinclude Kagwe in Kiambu county, Makomboki and Kanyenyaini in Murang'a, Iriaini in Nyeri, Kimunye in Kirinyaga , Kathangariri in Embu, Githongo in Meru, Tebesonik and Kobel in Kericho, Tombe in Nyamira, Eberege in Kisii and Mudete in Vihiga.
The Kenya Tea Development Agency has partnered with Rainforest Alliance, a global environmental conservation organisation, to provide 50,000 households with cleaner energy.
KTDA operations director Alfred Njagi said the 18-month project will seek to reduce the amount of firewood used by households in tea producing areas to smoke-free biomass briquettes.
He said the project is aiming to achieve a 30 per cent reduction of firewood use in 12 tea factories. This will save at least 156,500 trees accounting for about 260 acres of forest plantation annually.
“The decision to enter this partnership was seamless as it perfectly dovetailed with our strategic objective of transitioning smallholder tea farmers to more environmental-friendly and green sources of energy. It is our conviction that in the short-term, this partnership will enhance awareness of the need for renewable energy, while in the long-term, we will have our smallholder tea farmers and factories adopt energy sources that have less impact on the environment,” Njagi said.
He was speaking at the unveiling ceremony at a Nairobi hotel on Friday.
The project on Empowering Rural Communities and Households in Kenya with Renewable Energy is aimed at educating farmers on alternative sources of energy such as biomass, solar and improved energy-saving cooking stoves with an aim of conserving the environment.
Njagi said the project also seeks to reduce the amount of wood fuel used in smallholder tea farmer factories across the country, by supporting the use of briquettes as a thermal energy option for steam generation.
“This partnership with KTDA marks the beginning of a transformative journey towards the enhancement and uptake of clean energy solutions in the country and by extension, the region. We believe that at the end of this first phase of the project, there will a reduction of about 30 per cent on the reliance of wood fuel by the 12 piloted factories,” Rainforest Alliance Regional representative Julius Ng'ang'a said.
(Edited by R.Wamochie)