13.2.5-CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE COFFEE INDUSTRY-SELECTED INDIVIDUAL COUNTRY REPORTS
Selected individual country reports
Rising temperatures suggest coffee production will become viable in areas formerly considered too prone to frosts. Meteorological agencies report temperatures consistently above the historical average since the 1990's. However, too high temperatures will reduce the overall acreage with climatic potential for coffee production. *
Production costs are likely to increase due to new climatic conditions favouring the proliferation of insects, plagues and pathogens, and also by disturbing the natural balance between some pests and their natural predators. Diseases will spread to new areas. Water requirements may rise due to higher temperatures causing more evaporation, meaning many farmers may have to introduce irrigation. In some areas farmers would wish to transfer coffee production to higher altitudes to seek more suitable environmental conditions.
Farmers are also facing threats from climate change but rising temperatures may also expand the high-altitude regions where quality coffee is grown, possibly to as high as 2,000 meters.
Reduced rainfall in some areas is dramatically changing the ecosystem and growing conditions, whereas higher temperatures are favouring the spread of pests as white stem borer and berry borer. Worst affected farmers are establishing deep, high-volume wells thereby lowering the water table in their region.
The total area for coffee and tea production is expected to remain unchanged but to migrate upwards. The land now used for tea around Mount Kenya would become useless and tea production would move up the mountain, displacing the forest cover and so accelerating both local and global warming. Higher temperatures will negatively impact the incidence and spread of pests and diseases and, may adversely affect the 'Kenya cup' that the country is famous for.
Coffee production is at risk from climate change and the proliferation of pests. Even coffee trees grown as high as 1,200 meters and previously not considered at risk, are now being affected by berry borer. Coffee at all altitudes is now at risk.
Rising temperatures and erratic weather patterns are changing historic trends in coffee growing areas. Crops appear to start earlier and farmers are reporting that high-altitude coffee trees are maturing at times more typical of their low-land counterparts. Main changes reported so far are temperature increases matched by sudden cold fronts, reduced rainfall in some areas vis-à-vis unchanged total levels but seriously disturbed distribution patterns in others, including floods and landslides, and stronger winds damaging infrastructure and coffee plantations.
Here an Oxfam report suggests that 'if average global temperatures rise by 2° C or more, then most of Uganda is likely to become unsuitable for coffee'. More frequent floods and landslides are already a concern whereas rainfall distribution has become more erratic. On the other hand farmers are planting more shade trees, applying more mulching and contouring the soil to capture rainwater.
* The website of the University of Campinas (
) offers a range of related publications, for example see
. Another overview on Brazilian agriculture and climate change can be found at
. Look for the paper entitled 'Aquecimento global pode mudar mapa de produção agrícola brasileira' by Eduardo Assad and Hilton Silveira Pinto. Alternatively contact Mr Assad at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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