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UK tea Business Requires climate Goals to protect largest producer Kenya

Climate change is affecting the world’s four largest tea producing countries: Kenya, China, India and Sri Lanka, the report said. Kenya alone produces half the tea drunk in UK and is the world’s biggest exporter, but the country’s medium level tea growing regions are set to decrease by 39%, according to the charity, as the…

Climate change is impacting the world’s four largest tea producing nations: Kenya, China, India and Sri Lanka, the report said. Kenya alone generates half of the tea drunk in UK and is the world’s largest exporter, but the nation’s moderate level tea growing regions are set to reduce 39 percent, according to the charity, as the country faces a plethora of climate associated impacts like rising temperatures, erratic rainfall, droughts and fresh insect infestations.

These are forecast to ruin 26.2% of the country’s optimal tea growing areas by 2050, the charity warned. Regions with medium quality growing conditions are to be trimmed by 39percent in the following 30 years.

As the world’s biggest exporter of black tea, the destiny of this Kenyan tea sector has a major impact on tea drinkers around the world, the report said.  In 2017 that the UK imported 125,810 tons of tea. 62,222 heaps came from Kenya, which can be more than the rest of the top 10 biggest importing countries combined.

The charity’s report cited Richard Koskei, 72, a tea farmer in Kericho in Kenya’s western highlands. He said: “For generations we have carefully cultivated our tea farms and we are proud that the tea that we grow here is the best in the world. But climate change poses a real threat to us. We cannot predict seasons anymore, temperatures are rising, rainfall is more erratic, more often accompanied by unusual hailstones and longer droughts which was not the case in the past.”
 
“People in my community will consider running away from tea farming, with jobs lost and consumers of tea might see the price rise. The low earnings have made the younger generations opt for other means of earning income.”
 
“Tea is an example of how we are all connected.  We grow it here in Kenya and it’s enjoyed by people around the world. But if we are to carry on growing it, we need those other, richer countries, to cut their emissions and to think about how we are affected as tea farmers.”

Dr Kat Kramer, Christian Aid’s climate policy direct, called upon the UK government, which will be hosting the G7 in June along with the COP26 climate summit in November to “ensure that countries on the front line of this crisis can adapt and respond to the impacts of climate change. With countries starting to announce improved climate plans, there is a unique opportunity to accelerate cuts in emissions and boost the finance needed to help countries adapt to the changing climate.”

Commenting on the Christian Aid report, Dr Sharon Hall, Chief Executive For The Tea & Infusions Association — UKTIA — told FoodNavigator: “In the UK we import the majority of the black tea we drink from East Africa. We all know from various research studies and climate mapping; climate change may put the livelihoods of the folks who develop tea to the UK and other nations in danger. The tea industry Throughout the world has set into place a variety of programs and measures to help tackle climate challeng

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