KENYA’S TEA SECTOR UNDER CLIMATE CHANGE An impact assessment and formulation of a climate-smart strategy



Published on: 2015-09



Changing weather patterns in Kenya are increasingly being experienced within agricultural systems, including by farmers. In Kenya, there is particular concern with regard to the effects of climate change on tea – an extremely important sector for the economy. Tea producers already are facing reduced and erratic rainfall, a higher rate of hail or frost and rising temperatures that heavily affect yields and productivity levels. Over 500 000 smallholder tea producers are facing increased uncertainty about their livelihoods in the future. The challenge of climate change is raising concern at the policy level over the long-term viability of the tea value chain. At a special session on climate change that took place at the InterGovernmental Group on Tea, held in New Delhi in 2010, concern was raised by major tea producing countries about the potential negative impact of climate change on the future of the tea sector. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) was requested to provide technical support by way of a climate change impact assessment of tea in Kenya. FAO initiated a two-year technical assistance project in Kenya, the Climate-Change Impact Assessment and Tea Policy Response. The project was funded through FAO’s Multidonor Mechanism with financial support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. The project aims were to (i) develop evidence of climate change impact on Kenya’s tea production through a series of biophysical and socio-economic analyses; and (ii) provide policy support to the Government of Kenya that is specific to climate change and tea, which can be used as a template for a broader climate-smart agriculture development strategy. To undertake this work, FAO mobilized a team of Kenyan national researchers, FAO and international experts to carry out assessment and generate decision tools under the technical coordination of Aziz Elbehri, Project Manager. An innovative multistage framework was applied combining a multi-disciplinary climate impact assessment (evidence generation) with an inclusive multistakeholder process to develop a new climate-compatible strategy for tea (strategy formulation). The conceptual framework was built on elements of climate-smart agriculture concept and focused on the enabling environment for adaptation mainstreaming at the sector level. This framework applied to tea sector in Kenya was also guided by core principals, namely: (i) demand-focused, based on priority needs and aligned with current programs and initiatives relating to climate change; (ii) evidence-based, combining both biophysical and socioeconomic assessments of climate change impacts; and (iii) participatory, relying on active engagement by relevant stakeholders in priority setting and strategy development. This document is the synthesis report from the project. Chapter 1 describes the overall conceptual framework that guided the project. Chapters 2 through 7, report on the climate impact studies and chapter 8 provide a succinct description of the new climate-compatible strategy for tea in Kenya. Administrative support for this project was carried out by Nadia Laouini and Patricia Taylor and assistance in the organization of national workshops was xiv provided, at varying times, by Marion Triquet and Marwan Benali. The manuscript was copy edited by Margie Peters-Fawcett while art design and final formatting was provided by Rita Ashton and Ettore Vecchione.