Coffee is at risk because of climate change

As a tea drinker, I seldom drink coffee. But since over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed in the world every day (source), I thought this might interest you. As the 2 Degrees Network blogs in a post about Cafédirect :

” Climate change has had a noticeably dramatic effect on the cultivation of coffee. With resource-starved small farmers responsible for most of the world’s production, we may soon see soaring prices and shortages in production. “

Let’s face it, whether you are a chocolate nut, a maple syrup afficionado, or you simply just want to have food in your plate, climate change is a considerable threat…

Given how uncontrolled and unslowed climate change could decrease our food production it is unbelieveble how little we have acted so far. But let’s get back to coffee. As Treehugger noted last year :

the decreased production of the coffee industry is serving as the proverbial canary in the coal mine.

Central American and South American coffee production dropped 70 percent last year. A presentation on the impact of climate change on Central American coffee production says that Central America is “one of the regions that is most likely to get both hotter and drier over the course of this century.”

The presentation cites studies of climate change over the last two to three decades in coffee growing areas of Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras which indicates that the temperatures in the regions have increased between 0.2 and 1 degree Celsius. Rainfall in some of the areas decreased by up to 15 percent.

African coffee growing regions are also affected by climate change. Kenyan coffee production was affected last year by “unpredictable rainfall patterns and excessive droughts.” The 2007 to 2008 crop year had intermittent rainfall which caused coffee plants to suffer from the Coffee Berry Disease.

“We have seen climate change in intermittent rainfall patterns, extended drought and very high temperatures,” said Joseph Kimemia, director of research at Kenya’s Coffee Research Foundation (CRF).

If you want further information, please don’t hesitate to check out the initiative for Coffee & Climate.

Image credits: flickr, Olivier Bacquet

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