Global warming is posing a serious threat on coffee cultivation, and could consequently hugely affect many developing countries’ economies and environment.
A joint research issued by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) under the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) analysed the global sustainability of arabica cultivation to determine how coffee production will be affected in 2050, and the outcome is alarming: at the moment, arabica accounts for 70% of the global coffee market share, but due to rising temperatures and new rainfall patterns the areas where it can be grown will decrease rapidly, and some of the major coffee producing countries will suffer heavy losses, which will lead to a supply reduction and a hike in prices.
In fact, arabica is particularly sensitive to temperature increases, which reduce its growth, flowering and fruiting and make it more susceptible to coffee parasites, so, with global temperatures expected to increase by at least 2C over the next decades, countries like Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia and Colombia will have to endure serious losses. Some countries could mitigate the impact of climate change by moving their plantations to higher and cooler areas, but the damages will either way be severe, and the needs of coffee cultivations would have to be weighed up against the preservation of the natural environment and the wellbeing of indigenous communities.
Researchers say there are no quick solutions to this problem; the study calls for the implementation of adaptation strategies, for example by changing the genetics of the crops and the manner and areas in which it is grown, and it especially underlines the importance of starting the breeding of new varieties immediately, as this is a process that takes years to be completed.
Coffee is the second-most traded commodity after oil, and is grown in more than 60 tropical countries, which makes it a critical source of income for many developing countries. Therefore, failure to develop effective adaptation strategies will severely affect both humans and the environment: revenues from coffee trade are fundamental for the development of some countries, and arabica also brings a lot of environmental benefits such as biodiversity and soil and water conservation, as well as erosion control.
The gLAWcal Team
Tuesday, 5 May 2015
This news has been realized by gLAWcal—Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy and the University of Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy which are both beneficiaries of the European Union Research Executive Agency IRSES Project “Liberalism in Between Europe And China” (LIBEAC) coordinated by Aix-Marseille University (CEPERC). This work has been realized in the framework of Workpackages 4, coordinated by University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) in Turin, Italy.