Hailstorms dilute tea farmers’ returns

September 12, 2013
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Hailstorm has affected hundred of acres of tea/CFM
Hailstorm has affected hundred of acres of tea/CFM
NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 12 – Small scale tea farmers in some parts of the country are counting losses as hailstorms continue destroying tea bushes in their farms.

Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) Senior Agricultural Manager Peter Mbadi says the heavy hailstorms experienced in Kericho and Nandi in the last two months are likely to scale down the volumes of tea produced in these areas following the erratic weather patterns.

“Only two weeks ago, hailstorms destroyed tea bushes in Kapkoros area. The adverse weather conditions continue to affect other tea growing zones in the Aberdares,” Mbadi said.

According to a KTDA report, In Tirgaga area, Bomet County 17,590 kilogrammes of tea leaves are lost daily as a result of hailstorms experienced a few weeks ago.

“Some 12,890 kilogrammes of tea were lost in a single day in Ndarawetta, Singorwet, Mugango/Kiramwok zones last month,” the report says.

Tea farmers will now have to wait for another two to three months for the tea bushes to recover from the impact of the hailstorms before they start picking tea leaves again.

Mbadi said these adverse climatic changes are caused by global warming.

“The hailstorms are a result of the effect of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide emissions that comes from burning fossil fuels or deforestation,” he said.

Mbadi said to mitigate these effects, trees should be planted in order to reduce emissions of carbon to the atmosphere.

He said hailstorms experienced in the last two months have affected the quantity of green leaf delivered to the tea buying centres.

“Sometimes it is difficult to predict these weather patterns. So, it is not clear when the hailstorms will end,” Mbadi said.

Last year, Kericho and Nandi were greatly hit by hailstorms with the Aberdare ranges experiencing frost bites.

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