Friday, May 11, 2012

Coffee shortages loom as climate change takes hold

Elinor Zuke in the Grocer (UK): Severe coffee shortages and price hikes are on the cards unless the industry takes urgent action to help smallholder farmers adapt to climate change.

This stark warning has been issued by Fairtrade supplier Cafédirect. Three quarters of the world’s coffee is produced by 25 million coffee farms across Africa, Latin America and Asia. In recent years, climate change has left them struggling to cope with floods, drought, pests and crop diseases, and in some parts of the world, coffee farms that have been family owned for generations may soon be unsuitable for production altogether, it claimed.

While sustainability programmes from most suppliers have focused on reducing their own impact on the environment, Cafédirect head of strategic development Wolfgang Weinmann said the industry needed to help farms deal with the problems they already face as a result of climate change.

“This is beyond development and social - it’s to ensure continuity of the industry,” he said. “As the eurozone crisis gains pace, climate change is in danger of falling off the agenda. If we want sustainable, long term businesses, we cannot ignore this issue...

Roasted coffee beans, shot by GOELE, public domain

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