Climate change to kill Arabica coffee
LONDON - Reuters
Arabica coffee will disappear by 2080 if predictions of rising temperatures pan out. It is a startling and worrying prospect, according to scientists. Hürriyet photo
Rising temperatures due to climate change could mean wild arabica coffee is extinct in 70 years, posing a risk to the genetic sustainability of one of the world’s basic commodities, scientists said.
Although commercial coffee growers would still be able to cultivate crops in plantations designed with the right conditions, experts say the loss of wild arabica, which has greater genetic diversity, would make it harder for plantations to survive long-term and beat threats like pests and disease.
Disappearing in 2080
A study by researchers at Britain’s Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in collaboration with scientists in Ethiopia found that 38 to 99.7 percent of the areas suitable for wild arabica will disappear by 2080 if predictions of rising temperatures pan out.
Because coffee is a highly climate-dependent crop, the increase of a few degrees of average temperature in growing regions can put at risk the future of Arabica coffee and the livelihood of millions of people who grow and produce it.
The extinction of arabica coffee is a startling and worrying prospect,” said Aaron Davis, head of coffee research at the Royal Botanic Gardens, who led the study. He said the findings made it even more important for organizations such as the World Coffee Research collaboration to continue work to improve the genetic strength of cultivated arabica by preserving wild types.
Cultivated arabica coffee accounts for slightly more than 60 percent of global coffee production, with about 4.86 million tonnes produced this year.
Exports of coffee also are crucial to the economies of countries including Brazil, Sudan and Ethiopia, where arabica coffee is thought to have originated.