NAKURU (Xinhua) --
As tea tree increasingly becomes a popular crop to
mitigate negative impacts of climate change among farmers in the
arid and semi-arid (ASALs) parts of Kenya, experts have supported
enhanced research and partnerships to ensure its benefits are felt.
Chryspin Afifu, managing director of Liquid Lever Kenya, a company
supporting farmers to adapt to climate change through climate smart
solutions, said through research, breeds suitable for varying
climatic zones can be developed to benefit the larger community.
“Research is the only avenue to improve quality of tea tree,
increase its production and expand its growing zones,” Afifu told
Xinhua on Thursday.
Currently, tea tree is mainly grown in selected Arid and Semi Arid
Land (ASALs) in Central and Eastern Kenya thus helping maize growers
to overcome poor declining yields linked to the harsh climatic
For 12 months running from October 2016 to October 2017, Kenyans
exceeding two million were suffering in hunger due to prolonged
drought and unexpected low rainfall affecting crop growth.
Also, destruction of many acres of maize plantations by armyworms
further aggravated the situation as farmers couldn’t salvage the
crop due to lack of effective pesticides and information to tackle
However, expanding production of tea tree that proved to be a pest
resistance crop would boost Kenya’s food security, according to
He said incorporating climate change reality into food security
measures is inevitable as the impacts of extreme weather patterns
continue to manifest in dismal crop harvests.
“Farmers can earn good income from tea tree hence giving them the
much-needed purchasing power to afford alternative foods or invest
into food crop production as well,” he said.
Nancy Chege, Kenya’s Country Program Manager at Global Environment
Facility Small Grants Program of United Nations Development Program
(GEF-UNDP), said tea tree enables farmers to mitigate and adapt to
impacts of climate change since it is a drought tolerant crop that
requires less management in terms of time, skills, water and soil
“Unlike maize, tea tree requires less water thereby saving the
commodity for other uses including domestic uses,” she said.
“A meaningful additional support from county governments is required
to have a significant impact on production of tea tree (in Kenya),”
she said in regard to expansion of tea tree farming in the East
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