Tea Farmers, Traders Call for Quick Climate Action

The climate change crisis has affected numerous sectors of the environment up to the production of food by farmers. The tea traders are now calling for rapid response to climate action interventions as the sector continues to be affected.

According to the East African Tea Trade Association chairman Arthur Sewe, the climate change crisis has affected tea-growing areas in Africa and worldwide as the industry is faced with costs of electricity as well as unpredictable short rainfall seasons.

“Climate change affects production and factories. The cost of production rises when electricity bills go up and when rivers go down as a result of a lack of rainfall. As a result, we have to look for other means of running the factories. Nearly all factories have got generators to supplement their electricity supply,” said Arthur Sewe.

FAO had earlier warned that changing weather patterns in Eastern Africa are increasingly being felt within agricultural systems including among small farmers.

“Already tea producers are facing reduced and erratic rainfalls, higher rate of hail or frost episodes as well as increasing temperatures that heavily affect yields and productivity levels,” FAO said.

The national tea policy stalled since 2014, has seen the sector suffer losses as its been without coherent guidelines. The first draft policy was done in 2013 and finalized in 2014 but more than seven years later, nothing substantive has been arrived at.

Sewe is urging the government to come up with a paper document after it failed when it took too long, hence the association decided to contract a consultant who worked out everything that was needed.

“At the end of the day, we handed the paper to the government. The action was not taken immediately but last year they came up with a document that to us is not satisfactory,” he said.

Willis Kosura a consultant involved in the drafting of the policy said key areas that need to be looked into include low productivity, negative impacts of climate change on tea production, insufficient development and transfer of technology

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