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Coffee may become more scarce and expensive thanks to climate change – new research

Coffee may become more scarce and expensive thanks to climate change – new research

Map of suitable coffee growing regions

Under a moderate climate change scenario, half of the world’s best coffee-growing areas could be lost. Brazil, which is the currently world’s largest coffee producer, will see its most suitable coffee-growing land decline by 79%.

That’s one key finding of a new studyScientists in Switzerland evaluated the potential effects of climate change on avocados, cashews, and coffee. All three crops are important globally traded crops and are mainly grown in the tropics by small-scale farmers.

Coffee is the most important, with an expected revenue in excess of $800 million US$460 billion (£344 billion) in 2022While the numbers for avocado and cashew stand at $13 billion each, they are $6 billion. Coffee is primarily a stimulant beverage. Avocados and cashews, however, are popular food crops rich in monounsaturated oil and other nutrients. beneficial nutrients.

Map of suitable coffee growing regions

Coffee requires a tricky mix of climate, land and soil conditions and can’t just be grown anywhere in the tropics.
Grüter et al / PLOS, CC BY – SA

The main take-home message of the new study is that the predicted climatic change will likely result in significant decreases in the land suitable for growing these crops, in some of their main areas. This could have a significant impact on both consumers and growers around the globe.

Map of coffee suitability change by 2050

Moderate climate change will cause many areas to become less suitable for coffee (neither worst-case nor best-case emissions scenarios).
Grüter et al / PLOS, CC BY – SA

Most research on the future effects of climate change on food has been focused on staple crops like wheat, maize, and potatoes that are grown in temperate areas. This is consistent with the tendency of climate scientists, especially in the face of altered rainfall patterns and temperature changes, to focus on the potential severe effects of climate change on temperate ecosystems.

There has been, however, It takes less to protect the tropical ecosystemsThey account for approximately 40% of the global land area, where more than 3Billion people live. 1 billion more peopleThis is what is expected to happen by the 2050s.

The tropics support a vast amount of biodiversity as well as areas for recreation. Many important crops can be grownThey provide income and food for large populations. The new research confirms and greatly expands the findings from the relatively few studies on avocado, cashew, or coffee crops.

The study also examines soil parameters, in addition to purely meteorological factors like temperature and rainfall patterns. This is an important innovation. This allows them to see the future impacts that could significantly alter the suitability for certain crops in some tropical regions due to changes such as soil pH and texture.

Man tosses coffee beans on a plantation

Different factors affect the coffee-suitability in different regions. The Amazon basin has a favorable climate, but the soil is too acidic.
Jair Ferreira Belafacce/ shutterstock

The new study is in line with other recent research on oil Palm. Although controversial, the findings are not surprising. Deforestation is closely linkedOil palm is still one among the most important tropical crops in terms human nutrition. It has helped feed over 3 billion people.

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I reviewed recent modeling analyses that showed how climate change could affect the lives of colleagues and I. Oil palms are prone to diseases and have a high rate of overall mortality.. The stark reality was that tree mortality will likely increase after 2050, potentially wiping out large swathes of the Americas crop. The incidence of major stemrot disease, which is a deadly disease that can affect the entire region of south-east Asia, was also predicted to rise.

Surprisingly large and complex

These studies, taken together, are beginning reveal the astonishing complexity and extent of the impacts of climate changes and the associated factors on some most popular crops in the Tropics. The impacts of climate change will not be evenly distributed and some regions may even see benefits from it.

For example, coffee-growing areas in the US, Argentina, and China will be more suitable than those in Brazil and Colombia. It is likely that many of these changes are now “locked in” at least for the rest of this century, irrespective of the Global leaders’ slow response is disappointingIn terms of reducing greenhouse gas emission.

We will need to adapt to climate changes in the tropics. For example, shifting certain crops to areas with more favorable climates. Regardless of any mitigation measures, it is likely that many tropical crops will become less common and thus more expensive in the future. Coffee could even become a more expensive, everyday drink. A prized treatYou can enjoy it on special occasions, just like fine wine.

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