Climate Change Could Be Making Its Way to a Coffee Cup Near You
The global warming crisis may begin impacting your mornings soon. According to a new study, in ScienceDirect, rising nighttime temperatures in Tanzania have led to a decrease in Arabica bean crop yields.
While many have assumed that climate change could eventually impact coffee production, this is the first hard evidence we have that it's already having an effect. "Increases in temperature and changes in precipitation patterns will decrease yield, reduce quality and increase pest and disease pressure," the report explains. We could soon see similar shifts in Costa Rica, Brazil, Kenya, and other Arabica growing regions.
There is an agro-forestry practice called "shade-grown coffee" where coffee plants are grown under a canopy of shade trees. This process has biodiversity benefits, as it provides a habitat for birds and insects. It also helps rainforests and could assist farmers via crop protection, but a shift to these kinds of methods would take a vast amount of time and energy.
"The coffee in each region exists within its own unique niche," writes Alessandro Craparo, an International Institute of Tropical Agriculture Research Fellow at University of the Witwatersrand, "In order to be effective, site-specific adaptation strategies need to be implemented. Hopefully these hard numbers encourage the public and private-sectors to invest in climate change adaptation strategies that will better sustain this important industry and the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers who depend on it."
Without action on this issue, it's entirely possible that the coffee industry as you know it will not survive the century.