Climate Change as Coffee’s Greatest Long Term Threat

Coffee, alongside tea is the nation’s favourite beverage, and employs over 100 million people worldwide in farming the beans alone. Plus, with global coffee consumption expected to rise by 2 percent each year, the production of coffee must double, according to World Coffee Research. This process could however be hugely affected by climate change.

Growers and consumers of coffee are increasingly vulnerable to the effects of climate change in the industry. As temperatures rise, coffee beans will be more difficult to grow, and more expensive to purchase.

The rising temperatures will cause drought which will increase the chance of disease, and kill the insects that pollinate our coffee plants. Not only this, but it is also at risk of affecting the quality and taste of the coffee bean.

This will be the case especially for Arabica and Robusta beans, as they may harbour traits of for disease and drought resistance, and could seriously affect the future health of the crops. The disease, more commonly known as leaf rust, can be critical to the growth of coffee crops.

harvested coffee cherries drying in sun

What can we do?

If we don’t take action sooner rather than later then the industry may be at risk of producing coffee that is expensive and less than appealing to taste.

The only way to save the coffee industry is to grow coffee beans at even higher altitudes. By testing out and placing plant varieties worldwide in controlled environments and subjecting them to extremely low temperature, scientists can predetermine if those plants can survive in foreign soils and uncontrolled conditions.

If we do what we can to act now and change the course and rate that climate change is altering our environment, then we can save the coffee industry.

coffee farm in highlands
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