Adaptation for Smallholders to Climate Change


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How Kenyan tea producers adapt to climate change – the Michimikuru case study

Climate change is affecting the weather patterns in many East African countries. In Kenya, proven climate changes are already existing, such as delayed; reduced and destructive rainfall as well as increasing temperatures that are affecting heavily the tea production. As the local population is highly dependent on tea production the main source of income for many families is in danger.

Please download the complete description of the Kenyan Case Study here (PDF-Document, 1.1 MB).

Between November 2008 and February 2009 AdapCC realised the process of Risk and Opportunity Analysis (ROA) together with the pilot group Michimikuru. The participatory workshops found out that tea farmers are suffering from the following risks threatening their yields and livelihood:

Problem / Risk Root Causes Solution
1 Increasing pests and diseases for plants and people
  • Changing climate conditions
  • Unsustainable agri­cultural practices
  • Sustainable agri­cultural practices
2 Food shortages and malnutrition
  • Tea Monoculture
  • Decreasing income from tea due to climate impacts and decreasing produc­tivity
  • Nutritional diversi­fication staple food production
  • Income diversi­fication through alternative crops
3 Degraded soils and landslides
  • Deforestation
  • Lack of alternative energies
  • Unsustainable soil management prac­tices
  • Prolonged drought periods
  • Lack of environ­mental education
  • Energy efficiency at factory and households
  • Reforestation with indigenous trees
  • Improved soil management
  • Environmental education
4 Less water availability
  • Deforestation and land use changes at river banks, eucalyp­tus trees
  • Prolonged drought periods
  • River bank protec­tion
  • Improved soil manage­ment

As result of the analysis process the following working areas for exemplary adaptation to climate change in the tea sector for Michimikuru were defined and implemented between March and December 2009:

  1. Food and income diversification
  2. Water and soil management
  3. Good agriculture tea practices
  4. Energy use efficiency

Michimikuru Adaptation Strategy to Climate Change:

Component Activities Benefits
1 Food and income diversi­fication Staple and traditional food production:
  • 15 demo plots every distributed within tea catchment area with staple food (spinach, kale, carrots)
  • Promotion of double digging plots
  • 2.290 farmers trained
  • 47.982 seedlings distributed
  • Promotion of multi-storey gardens
  • Installation of bulking sites for traditional food like sweet potatoes and cassava

  • Enhanced nutrition reducing malnutrition and diseases
  • Improved availability of food for farmers and workers
  • Enhanced productivity of kitchen gardens
  • Planting materials available at affordable prices
Alternative crop production:
  • Production of passion fruit
  • 30 contact farmers trained

  • Alternative income source
  • Reduced dependence on tea monoculture output
Mulching and composting:
  • 2891 farmers trained during growers field days
  • 40 farmers adopted compost manure
  • Green leaf composting

  • Improved soil fertility for food production
2 Water and soil management
  • 5 rivers selected to serve as demo sites
  • Sensitization for farmers living along the rivers
  • Replanting of indigenous trees conserving water along 63 km riparian stripes
  • River conservation associations formed
  • 5 river bank scouts certified and trained on water and soil conservation
  • Establishment of forest corners at schools, 300 trees of 5 different species distributed to 10 schools
  • Construction of native tree gene bank
  • 3 Kenya forest guards trained
  • Improvement of water availability
  • Reduced risk of landslides and soil erosion
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Enhanced resilience of tea catchment areas
  • No further destruction of public forest
3 Good agricultural tea practices
  • Planting of kikuyu grass as soil stabilizer in tea zones
  • Leaving tea pruning in situ practice applied
  • Infilling of gaps in tea plantation
  • Installation of farmers' tea nurseries
  • Installation of demo units, realisation of field days and farm visits
  • Application of sustainable tea practices
  • Enhanced productivity
4 Energy use efficiency At factory level:
  • Replacing ordinary bulbs with energy saving ones at factory and workers' houses
  • Use of energy saving motors
  • Avoidance of leaks and use of cured firewood
  • Construction of firewood sheds

At household level:
  • 30 households as demo units with 15 jiko kissasa and 15 rocket stoves
  • 2000 farmers adopted stoves
  • 30 constructors trained and certified
  • 30% energy savings at factory level
  • 30% to 70% energy savings at farmers' household level

For more specific information about the Michimikuru case study please download the following extract of our final report.