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Launch of Climate Information for Resilient Tea Production (CI4T) Project

Tea production is an important contributor to the economies of Kenya and Malawi. It is widely acknowledged that the quality and quantity of tea production is being affected by changing weather patterns. An understanding of these potential changes is necessary to support climate resilient planning in tea production and supply chains.

The Climate Information for Resilient Tea Production (CI4Tea) project aims to identify key climatic characteristics that influence tea production. The project will investigate various adaptation methods to support long-term planning in tea production. Climate model scenarios and analysis will be used to inform adaptation decision making.

The project will evaluate large-scale adaptations such as irrigation, shade trees and crop breeding programmes. Researches will seek to determine the potential economic costs and projected values to producers. The project team will work with different stakeholders across the tea supply chain to identify low cost and low regret adaptation options.

34 global climate models and high-resolution climate model simulation (CP4-Africa) will be used to analyse identified climatic characteristics. The CP4-Africa model will be used to provide localised simulations of weather phenomena such as heavy rain, heat waves and dry spells. The CIMP5 model will be utilised to provide a range of possible global and resultant regional climate from multiple models.

A key project strategy is the enhancement of existing partnerships with tea sector organisations with a specific focus on women farmers. The project will work with the Ethical Tea Partnerships’ Malawi 2020 Tea Revitalisation Programme,  the Tea Association of Malawi,  Kenya Tea Development Agency,  the Tea Research Institute in Kenya and tea producers in both countries. Through consultations with partners and stakeholders, researchers will identify key climate metrics and adaptation options at different points of the tea production and supply chain.

The CI4Tea project builds on two existing Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) projects; HyCRISTAL and UMFULA. which have developed strong networks and relationships with government in Kenya and Malawi.

CI4Tea is a ten month research project funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council and the Department for International Development under the FCFA Applied Research Fund. This work is led by the University of Leeds, UK. Project deliverables include climate information briefs for tea sector stakeholders and specific Malawi and Kenya Tea sector adaptation analysis. The targeted dissemination of briefing papers will form a key component of the project to ensure that outputs address the particular needs identified during research phase.

The project lead is Professor Andrew Dougill (a.j.dougill@leeds.uk)