KENYA – Kenya’s tea manufacturing sector is spearheading a technological revolution aimed at mitigating the impacts of climate change, with Tea Machinery and Engineering Company (TEMEC) Ltd at the forefront of these efforts. 

TEMEC, a subsidiary of Kenya Tea Development Agency Holding (KTDA(H) Ltd, is leading the charge in developing and implementing energy-efficient machinery to address the challenges posed by climate change. General Manager Michael Cherutich emphasized the importance of these innovations in conserving energy and reducing environmental impact. 

Cherutich highlighted various energy-efficient technologies integrated into TEMEC’s machinery, including the Fluid Bed Drier (FBD) equipped with a heat recovery system to maximize energy utilization and minimize heat loss.  

He emphasized the direct benefits of these innovations, such as reduced firewood consumption and deforestation, ultimately benefiting tea farmers and the environment. 

Furthermore, TEMEC’s partnership with solar technology companies underscores its commitment to renewable energy adoption in tea processing, aligning with broader green energy initiatives.  

Cherutich emphasized the company’s focus on optimizing capacity to increase throughput while reducing process time, thereby conserving energy and cutting costs. 

In addition to its efforts in energy conservation, TEMEC is also supporting smallholder tea farmers through the mechanization of tea plucking.  

By supplying battery-operated plucking machines and providing training, TEMEC aims to help farmers manage production costs while maintaining tea quality, further highlighting its commitment to sustainable practices. 

KTDA Chief Executive Officer Wilson Muthaura echoed the importance of innovation and efficiency in the tea industry, emphasizing the agency’s dedication to improving returns for smallholder tea farmers.  

Muthaura highlighted KTDA’s automation of processes such as the growers’ payments system, aiming to enhance efficiency and cut costs. 

Muthaura’s remarks underscore KTDA’s commitment to research and innovation in improving tea quality and increasing farmers’ earnings, emphasizing the pivotal role of collaboration with engineering institutions and industry partners. 

The tea industry’s embrace of innovative technologies not only enhances efficiency and sustainability but also underscores Kenya’s commitment to combating climate change. 

In 2023, Sasini tea, one of Kenya’s biggest agricultural firms revealed a decrease in employee numbers from 2,567 between January and September 2022 to 2,300 during the same period in 2023.   

The adoption of digitization in operations and technological interventions, such as mechanized tea harvesting, played a key role in reducing wastage, increasing efficiencies, and containing the cost of production.  

Sasini reported a decline in staff costs to Kes359.9 million (US$2.24M) in the review period from Kes381.9 million (US$2.38M) in the previous year, reflecting the positive impact of the reduced workforce.

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