Your cup of java at peril: Climate change may halve coffee-growing area, says study

By 2080, scientists think wild coffee, which is important for genetic diversity of farmed coffee, could be extinct.

PTI August 30, 2016 08:29:49 IST
Your cup of java at peril: Climate change may halve coffee-growing area, says study

London: Climate change is going to halve the area suitable for coffee production and impact the livelihoods of more than 120 million of the world's poorest people who rely on the coffee economy, according to a new report.

Your cup of java at peril Climate change may halve coffeegrowing area says study

Reuters

Climate change is already impacting coffee crops around the world, according to the report by the Climate Institute, commissioned by Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand.

In Tanzania, where 2.4 million people's livelihoods rely on coffee, production has fallen by about 137kg per hectare for every 1C rise in the minimum temperature on farms. Overall there has been a 50 percent decline there since the 1960s.

Extreme temperatures and unusual high-altitude rains have also sparked costly waves of pests and disease through coffee farms. In 2012, coffee leaf rust affected half of the coffee across Central America some producers in Guatemala lost up to 85 per cent of their crop.

In 2012-13 the damage in Central America amounted to about $500 million and put 350,000 people out of work.
How climate change will impact coffee growers in coming decades will vary by region.

Scientists think Nicaragua could lose the majority of its coffee-growing areas by 2050, and in Tanzania, coffee yields were projected to reach "critically low levels" by 2060.

By 2080, scientists think wild coffee, which is important for genetic diversity of farmed coffee, could be extinct.

For consumers of coffee, all of this will impact flavour, aroma and price, the Guardian said quoting the report as
saying.

Since most coffee growers are poor smallholders, their ability to adapt to climate change on their own is limited.
To adapt, coffee farmers could move to higher ground or away from the equator. But since coffee plants take several
years to become productive, that would often be impossible without assistance. Other strategies involve developing more resilient production systems and diversifying crops, which also require support.

"There are things we coffee drinkers can do to assist," said John Connor, the chief executive of the Climate
Institute. Connor said consumers should only buy brands that "provide a fair return to farmers and their communities while helping to build their capacity to adapt to climate change".

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