Yesterday morning we had the chance to tour the grounds of the James Finlay property here in Kericho. This enormous 12,500 hectare blend of tea estates, flower farms, factories, and forest was truly breathtaking. It employs a total of 15,000 people and is the second largest commercial tea operation in Kenya. I found it very interesting that they've managed to use hydroelectric generators to supply 50% of their energy needs, and have certain areas that are Fair Trade or Organic certified. We were lucky enough to get a tour of one of their CTC (crush-tear-curl) black tea factories and their beautiful rose farm.
After that, we headed through town to the Toror Tea Factory. This high-volume factory is managed by KTDA, which is an organization that manages numerous tea factories and engages stakeholders. Recently the Toror factory has been working on developing automation systems in order to reduce overhead costs, and has also been working with its smallholder tea farm suppliers on a forestry incentive to supply fuel wood for it's tea dryers.
The internet connection here is a little slow so I am having trouble uploading my images... but I will have some soon!