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article imageClimate change creating 'A Brewing Storm' in coffee production

By Karen Graham     Aug 30, 2016 in Environment
Climate change is going to have a dramatic impact on the quality, price and production of coffee, from consumers to the farmers growing the coffee beans.
According to The Climate Institute’s report, A Brewing Storm released on Monday, climate change could cut coffee production by up to 50 percent over the next few decades and unless something is done to mitigate the effects of climate change, the world will see shortages and increased prices.
Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand, which commissioned the report points out that climate change is already starting to impact coffee production. And this is worrisome for 70 coffee-producing countries in the so-called "bean belt" around the globe —among them, the chief exporting countries of Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Ethiopia, and Indonesia.
But 25 million people, which includes 80 to 90 percent of the coffee farmers, are smallholders who are among those most exposed to climate change. "These are among the most marginalized and poor communities in the world. They typically live on less than $2 per day and mostly have less than an acre of land on which they are growing their crops," said Molly Harriss Olson, the chief executive of Fairtrade.
Coffee rust at a farm in Cauca  southwestern Colombia. From the Two Degrees Up series of case studie...
Coffee rust at a farm in Cauca, southwestern Colombia. From the Two Degrees Up series of case studies on the effect of climate change on agriculture. Photo taken: Sept. 23, 2010.
Neil Palmer (CIAT) (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Rising temperatures and rainfall have already caused an increase in disease and pests affecting yields and quality. And in already hot countries, more warming will also increase burdens on the physical and mental health of producers, laborers and communities, with negative results.
We are talking about a coffee industry worth $19 billion worldwide, with over 2.5 billion cups of coffee being consumed every single day. The livelihoods of over 125 million people are reliant on coffee production. The Climate Institute CEO John Connor says, “Yet coffee is just one of a multitude of things increasingly subject to negative climate impacts, and its negative flow-on effects.”
A worker checks sacks of green  unroasted coffee beans at Dormans coffee factory in Nairobi  the cou...
A worker checks sacks of green, unroasted coffee beans at Dormans coffee factory in Nairobi, the country's oldest coffee roaster
Carl de Souza, cds/AFP/File
Earlier this year, Andrea Illy, chairman of global coffee business Illy, told CNBC at Davos that climate change was a threat in the medium and long-term to coffee production. And while we are seeing the early effects of climate change, consumption of coffee is still growing every year.
"We predict that we will need twice as much as coffee at least – more probably three times as much – by the end of the century, with less than 50 percent of the land available. I think we have a problem we need to fix."
More about Coffee, Climate change, Livelihoods, negative impact, brewing storm
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