Kenya is a country of outstanding natural beauty and its fertile soils are perfect for cultivation however as a consequence there is great risk of over exploitation. As tea farmers, Williamson Tea is more aware than most of the delicate balance that must be struck between running a modern and profitable business for the benefit of its communities, and of conserving the natural resources of the region for future generations. Williamson Tea is committed to creating a truly sustainable future for our farms. Here are a just a few examples of what we do...
In many ways tea farming is an inherently environmentally friendly process. Aside from electricity our factories have no use for fossil fuels, our staff live on the farms and so do not have to commute to work and most importantly the tea bush is an evergreen crop, absorbing Carbon Dioxide continuously throughout the year. Our reforestation projects, where we plant indengious trees around the farms, act as carbon sinks and we plant all our own trees for timber, ensuring that the surrounding forests are not harmed and our emissions are kept to a minimum.
Williamson Tea has been involved in Kenya for over half a century and we are very conscious that we are merely stewards of the land for future generations. For us, the idea of sustainable farming is simply common sense, whether it be ensuring that we plant grassland around our farms to help prevent soil erosion, or the protection of rivers and natural water courses which flow through the tea gardens. We always set aside areas for replanting for a minimum of two years to ensure that the nutrients in the soil are replaced naturally and we never use pesticides.
The sights and sounds on an African tea farm are often quite inspiring. Not for us are the huge expanses of arable farmland as far as the eye can see. We have always shared our farms with the local wildlife, such as the blue turaco which lives in and around Kaimosi, or the casqued hornbills whose evening call signals the sunset on Tinderet. Our closest friend is the colobus monkey - they are often seen around the farm and we have created special "corridors" for them, so that they can cross the tea gardens safely from one side of the forest to the other.
As part of Williamson Tea’s approach to a sustainable future the company is committed to increasing the use of renewable energy across the farms and production process. Current projects include solar street lamps for the communities and solar powered heat exchangers for the factories all helping to reduce our carbon footprint.
There is little waste in tea production however rejected green leaf and tea waste are composted and recycled in the farms plant nurseries, where the compost act as a source of nutrients for the young bushes and trees.
We have also set aside special wetlands areas which contain reed beds for water and waste treatment.