MyLittleEye Senior Member Joined: 7 Jun 2013 Posts: 1 Location: Kew Gardens Expertise: Just starting
Posted Fri Jun 7, 2013, 6:55am Subject: KEW - Ethiopia - Climate Change In The Forgotten Home of Coffee -
Climate Change In The Forgotten Home of Coffee
I've recently returned from an expedition with the UK's Royal Botanic Gardens Kew investigating the potential effects of climate change on Ethiopia's coffee industry. I hope you don't mind me promoting it here; it seems the right place and I feel sure the issue concerns Coffee enthusiasts everywhere so please stop by...
alnica Senior Member Joined: 28 Feb 2010 Posts: 84 Location: Nicaragua Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Vivaldi II Grinder: Baratza Vario, Porlex Mini Drip: Hario V60
Posted Fri Jun 7, 2013, 7:41pm Subject: Re: KEW - Ethiopia - Climate Change In The Forgotten Home of Coffee -
I think it's generally accepted (though potentially not so generally in the US) that climate change is already and will continue to have big impacts on agricultural production, and that countries in the South will bear in the brunt of this, given the general lack of capacity, technology and knowledge of smallholders who represent the vast majority of farmers in these countries. Coffee is no exception to this phenomenon.
Initial climate modelling carried out in Central America, where a fair amount of the world's quality Arabica coffee currently comes from, shows that as temperatures continue to rise, farmers will be pushed towards higher grounds (which is often precisely where these countries' only remaining forest cover lies) in search of more suitable climate conditions for coffee cultivation. In the particular case of Nicaragua, the big problem is that there isn't much higher to go (Nicaragua has the lowest peaks of all Latin American coffee production countries from Mexico down to Colombia, Peru and so on). This means that much of the coffee industry - the country's biggest export earner - will effectively be all but wiped out over the next 30-40 years, with quality production limited to a couple of pockets of high altitude areas, representing less than 20% of areas where quality coffee is currently produced... Adaptation strategies are vital.
I'm not sure there is any need to worry about global supplies (Robusta will not be affected in the same way) as I think that by the same measure, in countries with higher altitudes, as climate conditions change here, previously unsuitable areas due to frosts will gradually offer potential for growing coffee. But here too, strengthening smallholder adaptive capacity is vital.
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