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Kenya Tea and Forestry Groups Join Up for Research.

NAIROBI, KENYA -- The Tea Research Foundation of Kenya (TRFK) and the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI KEFRI Kenya Forestry Research Institute ) have signed a memorandum of understanding A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is a legal document describing a bilateral or multilateral agreement between parties. It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action and may not imply a legal commitment.  (MOU (Minutes Of Usage) A metric used to compute billing and/or statistics for telephone calls or other network use. ) for collaborative research and development at the TRFK.

The MOU will enable the two research institutions to undertake joint research projects aimed at, among other things, strengthening capacity for research and management of trees in tea, farms and estates.

The project is aimed at finding solutions to a number of weather and environmental problems that have plagued the tea industry in the last two years, namely drought, hail and frost. In a joint press statement, the directors of TRFK and KEFRI Jeremiah Rutto and Dr. Pual Konuche respectively, say the problems facing tea farming arise out of change in land use -- from forest to agriculture.

Change in land use, they say, has resulted in unpredictable weather patterns and decline in water catchments due to rapid deforestation deforestation

Process of clearing forests. Rates of deforestation are particularly high in the tropics, where the poor quality of the soil has led to the practice of routine clear-cutting to make new soil available for agricultural use.
, which has recently led to severe drought and frost that has affected tea production this past year.

The research and development project also aims at finding suitable shade trees for tea bushes and adequate and sustainable fuel wood for farmers in tea growing areas.

The initial research will focus on the following: developing tree species which can be interplanted with tea to improve micro-climate; creating a better understanding of the role of forests and catchment areas catchment area or drainage basin, area drained by a stream or other body of water. The limits of a given catchment area are the heights of land—often called drainage divides, or watersheds—separating it from neighboring drainage  in regulating climate; sensitizing sen·si·tize  
v. sen·si·tized, sen·si·tiz·ing, sen·si·tiz·es

v.tr.
1. To make sensitive: "The polarity principle . . .
 policy makers on the importance of sustaining a proper forest/agriculture interface balance; and diversifying wood fuel species and enhancing production in tea growing areas.

Last year, tea production fell sharply following effects of drought, which was blamed on the dry La Nina La Niña  
n.
A cooling of the ocean surface off the western coast of South America, occurring periodically every 4 to 12 years and affecting Pacific and other weather patterns.
 weather phenomenon, hail and frost. Researchers link the unfavorable weather, to forest destruction in the catchment areas adjoining tea growing regions.
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Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:6KENY
Date:Sep 20, 2001
Words:293
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