The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) is now looking for the ways of tapping solar power energy to use in its tea factories. KTDA board member Mr Peter Kanyago said that this step is a part of the organisation’s strategy to cut the production costs.

He said on Monday during the annual general meeting at Chinga Tea factory in Othaya that  “The cost of energy is one of the major challenges facing the tea industry.” KTDA has initiated a hydro-power project programme, which is going to be implemented across many other KTDA-managed factories in the country. “Plans for the construction of the Gura Hydro power generation project are at an advanced stage,” Mr Kanyago said.

The selection of the consultants for the project has finished and its all set to begin by April. The hydro-power project will generate power from Gura River for four factories in Nyeri.

More factories are moving towards tree plantations from where they will be sourcing wood fuel, he added.

Mr Kanyago said tea growers in Nyeri are yet to be affected by the drought currently ravaging many parts of the country.

"The crop has been good for the last six months, but we are not sure what the next six months will be. If the long rains come on time, then farmers will not be affected much by the current drought," he said.