KENYA – In a significant step towards sustainable energy practices and cost reduction, four Kenyan Tea Factories have inked Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with Chemuka Power Company for the development of a 2.8-megawatt small hydropower project.

The factories involved in this groundbreaking initiative are Chebut, Kaptumo, Kapsara, and Mudete, which will soon be powered by clean, renewable energy.

Chemuka Power Company, a Special Purpose Vehicle jointly formed by the four tea factory companies in collaboration with KTDA Power Company (KTPC) Limited, will oversee the development and implementation of the hydropower project.

This project is located along River Yala at Taunet village near Tindinyo Shopping Center in Nandi County, Kenya.

Under these PPAs, the power generated by the hydropower plant will primarily cater to the energy needs of the tea factories.

Any surplus energy will be sold to Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC), marking a significant milestone in Kenya’s sustainable energy journey.

Upon commissioning, the Taunet hydropower plant will provide a reliable power supply to Chebut, Kaptumo, and Mudete Tea Factories, ensuring uninterrupted operations.

Meanwhile, Kapsara Tea Factory, which is at a distance from the project site, will benefit from a power wheeling arrangement being pursued with KPLC.

Additionally, there are plans for Phase two of the project, set to be located at Kapolet.

“The power project will serve our factories as part of our medium-to-long-term strategic initiatives aimed at enhancing earnings for the smallholder tea by reducing operation costs and passing the benefit to the farmers,” Abungana Khasiani, KTDA Board Member representing Zone 12 stated.

“We look forward to the development of the project to completion for the benefit of all farmers represented by the four participating factories.”

Financing for the project will be sourced through a combination of debt from financiers and equity from shareholders, with a debt-to-equity ratio of 65:35.

This endeavor aligns with KTDA’s strategic goal to reduce operating costs, enhance power supply reliability, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions during tea processing.

Tanzanian small-scale sea growers seek modern equipment to boost productivity

In other news, Tanzanian small-scale tea growers in Rungwe District, Mbeya Region, have reported difficulties in tea picking due to a lack of modern equipment.

Despite completing a year-long training on modern tea cultivation sponsored by the EU and provided by the NGO IDH, many tea farmers still rely on manual labor for tea picking with this hampering their productivity, especially on larger farms.

Farmers like Mariam Mwakanyamale are calling on sponsors and stakeholders to provide modern tea-picking equipment, emphasizing that access to such tools is crucial for enhancing their efficiency and livelihoods.

Rungwe District Acting Executive Director, Ally Said, assured the farmers that the government will address their concerns, acknowledging the importance of the tea industry in the region.

For all the latest food industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.