The Board in its undertakings strives to boost agricultural, productivity and reduce production costs for better earnings for the tea farmer. In the execution of its mandate, the Board engages various industry players to facilitate the exchange of information, ideas, and thoughts for improvement. This is achieved through:
The Board collaborates with institutions especially the Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organization- Tea Research Institute, to conduct research on tea production, processing, and marketing. This involves breeding and selection of the best cultivars/clonal that suit the various ecological zones, tea diseases, and pests, and how to manage and control them. Research has also been done and is still ongoing on how to make different types of teas and the parameters under which these teas should be made.
The current priority areas of research and service to the tea industry include:
- Germplasm Resources and Conservation.
- Impact of Climate Change, Adaptation, and mitigation options.
- Improvement in Field Management Practices.
- Product Diversification and Value Addition.
- Shelf life of tea.
- Health benefits of tea.
- Organic tea farming.
- Effects of mechanical tea harvesting and tea quality
- Effects of foliar fertilizer on productivity.
- Effect of flavoring tea on consumer acceptability.
The Board in collaboration with Tea Research Institute, Tea Brokers, and Tea Buyers organizes forums, retreats, and programs that are aimed at disseminating research findings, new ideas in the tea value chain, and the tea market dynamics. In liaising with the county governments, the Board organizes training for County Agricultural officers, sub-county Agricultural officers, Tea Extension Services Assistants, and Tea makers. The training focuses on exchanging information, on Good Agricultural Practices, Good Manufacturing/Processing practices, and at the other levels, meetings are held for the purposes of coordinating policies and administration.
The Board is at the forefront of embracing the uptake of technology in the tea industry. The Kenya tea industry has seen the practical implementation of ideas that have resulted in the introduction of new ways of processing tea and new products on the market. This has led to increased market share for Kenya tea, increased revenue, customer satisfaction, and lowered the cost of production.
Current innovations in the tea industry include:
- Mechanical tea harvesting
- Digitization of processes
- Automated leaf-withering processes
- Use of alternative sources of energy and power like Briquettes and solar.
- Processing of Specialty and flavored teas.
- Value-added tea types, (Orthodox black and green teas, oolong, white, purple and post-fermented teas.) food products, (Alcoholic beverages, Dairy products yoghurts, Baked products, Fats and oil industry) and non-food products. (Soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners, detergents, lotions.)
Value-added tea types, (Orthodox black and green teas, oolong, white, purple and post-fermented teas.) food products, (Alcoholic beverages, Dairy products yoghurts, Baked products, Fats and oil industry) and non-food products. (Soaps, shampoos, hair conditioners, detergents, lotions.)
1 Capacity Building Forums
The Board organizes annual training programs for county Agricultural officers and sub-county Agricultural officers and Tea Extension Services Assistants.
2. Environmental Sustainability programs
The Board has taken initiatives in enforcing climate change policies.
- Enforcing the ban on logging of indigenous trees.
- Initiatives to promote indigenous food crops and fruit tree planting so as to reduce over-reliance on tea farming.
- The Tea Board Program on climate change adaptation and mitigation Competition award that initiated by the Tea Board so as to encourage tea farmers to be at the leading front of climate mitigation practices.
- Negotiation for public-private partnership for the development and conservation of forests.
- Adaptation to renewable energy- By using energy-saving jikos will reduce the number of trees being cut down to be a source of fuel.
3. Tea Quality Monitoring and Strategic Tea Quality Improvement Program
The Board conducts the annual Tea Classes competition with an aim of recognizing and awarding the best-performing tea factories. The tea classes competition is also a precursor of the tea quality improvement program for factories that produce low-quality tea. Onsite training and evaluations are conducted for continuous improvement.