Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Climate change threatens your cup of coffee as soon as 2020

Megan Rowling at the Thomson Reuters Foundation: Areas suitable for coffee growing will decrease substantially by as soon as 2020 due to climate change impacts in major producing countries, a new report warns.

"The situation is alarming," said the Coffee Barometer 2014, produced by a group of environment and development organisations including Oxfam-Novib, Hivos and WWF. Severe droughts, like that in Brazil this year, warmer temperatures or heavy rains make the coffee harvest season increasingly unpredictable, it said.

Erratic temperatures and rainfall can affect coffee plants directly, making it harder for them to grow, as well as indirectly by providing favourable conditions for pests and diseases such as the berry borer and coffee rust, which has hit Central America and Colombia hard in the past three years.

"These changes affect yields and quality, and increase production costs, leading to drastic reductions of producer income," the report noted. Most vulnerable are poor households with small coffee landholdings, as they usually depend on the crop and have few other ways to earn a living...

Photo by Julius Schorzman, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons license 2.0 

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