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Donnish Journal of Research in Environmental Studies

March 2015 Vol. 2(2), pp. 005-017

Copyright 2015 Donnish Journals




Original Research Article


Analysis of Links between Climate Variables and Tea Production in the Recent Past in Kenya


1Beatrice Chepkoech Cheserek*, 2Aziz Elbehri and 1John Bore

1Tea Research Foundation of Kenya
2Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome, Italy.

Corresponding Author E-mail: btcheserek@yahoo.com

Accepted 30th January, 2015.



Abstract


Tea is grown in Kenya under rain-fed conditions and therefore depends heavily on weather stability. An assessment of tea vulnerability to climate change using statistical analysis linking historical climate data trends with tea yields in Kenya based on time data series was carried out. The aim of the study was to link tea yields to the following climate variables: air temperature, radiation, rainfall and soil water deficits. The study was carried out at the Timbilil Tea Estate, Kericho district, Magura Tea Estate in Sotik and Kangaita farm in Kirinyaga district. Data on weather and tea production was obtained from the Tea Research Foundation of Kenya agro-meteorological stations and respective Tea Estates management respectively. Data was statistically analyzed using GENSTAT and MSTAT. Data showed that all Estates have experienced increasing temperature trends with an annual rise of 0.020Cy-1 at Timbilil, 0.220Cy-1 in Sotik-Magura and 0.010Cy-1 in Kangaita. Rainfall distribution and patterns have also changed in all the three sites but is rather unpredictable. Tea does well in warm temperatures only if soil moisture is not inhibitive. The case of Timbilil Tea Estate showed a significant (P≤0.05, n=270, r2=0.928) positive relationship between mean air temperature and tea yields (319 kg ha-1m-10C-1) when soil moisture is not limiting. This is also true for the other two sites Magura in Sotik and Kangaita in Kirinyaga.

Keywords: Climate variables, Tea, Kenya.

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Cite This Article:

Beatrice Chepkoech Cheserek, Aziz Elbehri and John Bore. Analysis of Links between Climate Variables and Tea Production in the Recent Past in Kenya. Donnish Journal of Research in Environmental Studies 2(2) 2015 pp. 005-017.


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