Africa’s tea factories urged to adopt renewable energy


Tea factories in eastern and southern African regions should adopt renewable energy as part of their contribution towards helping the continent cope with climate change, officials said Monday.

Arthur Sewe, chairman of the East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA) said that climate change is a big threat to the tea sub-sector hence the need for a rapid shift to less carbon-intensive processes.

“There is an urgent need to embrace small hydropower stations, wind and solar energy to bring down energy costs,” Sewe told journalists in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

Sewe noted that climate change effects on the tea industry can be seen in the reduced yield per fixed acreage as a result of poor precipitation and erratic distribution of rain.

He added that reforestation was crucial and will provide a source of wood fuel that is an important ingredient in tea processing but also contributes to resilience in combating the effects of environmental degradation.

Sewe observed that the tea industry plays a significant role in shaping and sustaining the growing economies of the countries in east and southern Africa.
Bethule Nyamambi, Programs Director for Reclaim Sustainability on Tea at Trust Africa urged stakeholders in the tea value chain to set the agenda in ensuring the crop contributes to the continent’s development.

Nyamambi told policymakers to ensure that forces that disrupt tea production in the continent such as climate change and trade restrictions are dealt with to enable farmers to reap maximum benefit from the cash crop.

Humphrey Nxumalo, Head of Programs at Solidaridad southern Africa region called for enhanced trade and collaboration in the continent through regional blocs.

Nxumalo urged stakeholders to resort to innovation as a means of creating new opportunities such as specialty tea.

He called for harmonized programs on sustainability standards to ease implementation in the tea sub-sector.

The officials called for a comprehensive policy framework that delineates the role of government and that of the private sector to help streamline the tea sub-sector.

In addition, the officials noted that such a policy framework will encourage a coherent approach to development and investment in the tea sub-sector. Enditem

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