IFC launches initiative to improve Kenyan tea farmers' yields
16 April 2016, 17:02
Nairobi Xinhua) -- The World Bank's arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), has launched a 4.2 million U.S. dollar initiative to improve yields and income for Kenyan tea farmers.
The IFC and Kenya Tea Development Agency's Management Services Limited (KTDA-MS) said on Friday the initiative focuses on training farmers on crop nutrition, soil management and business skills.
KTDA Holdings Group CEO Lerionka Tiampati said through the initiative, IFC and KTDA will conduct soil and leaf testing, and formulate the most appropriate fertilizer blends to help farmers maximize their tea yields.
"The partnership will also empower our farmers to manage their income efficiently, thereby helping them make informed decisions on how to save and invest their money," Tiampati said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
He said the farmers will receive training on financial management to effectively manage their farms and their incomes.
IFC will also work with KTDA on managing their wood fuel supply, helping the company move to renewable energy sources.
"The project will increase productivity of our smallholder farmers through improved fertilizer and tea nutritional management," Tiampati said.
Kenya is the third largest tea producer in the world, and the tea industry supports livelihoods of thousands of smallholder farmers.
KTDA operates 67 tea processing factories across the country, sourcing green leaf from 560,000 farmers, who are shareholders in their respective factories, which in turn own KTDA Holdings Limited.
Tania Lozansky, IFC Head of Advisory for Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services, said the new initiative continues a long-standing partnership between IFC and KTDA, which began in 2012 when IFC first invested in the company's expansion.
The IFC has also made another loan of 55 million dollars this year to finance seven small hydropower plants to power KTDA's tea factories.