How Climate Change Threatens Ethiopia's Coffee Industry
Ethiopia is the birthplace of Arabica coffee, and the country's coffee industry is a major part of its economy. However, climate change is posing a serious threat to Ethiopia's coffee farmers.
A new study published in Nature Plants found that Ethiopia could lose from 39% to 59% of its current coffee growing areas to climate change by the end of the century. This is because climate change is causing higher temperatures and less rainfall, which are making it difficult for coffee plants to thrive.
The study's authors found that coffee farmers in Ethiopia could adapt by moving their coffee plantations to higher altitudes. However, this is a challenging task, as it requires coordination, effort, and resources that many Ethiopian coffee farmers do not have.
Coffee expert Wondyifraw Tefera says that it is more likely that the amount of coffee growing area and coffee farms in Ethiopia will decrease. He says that coffee is being pushed to the top of the mountain, but that this may not be enough to compensate for the overall loss of suitable land.
Peter Laderach, a scientist working on climate change at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, says that Ethiopia has some highlands available for expansion of coffee, but that not all coffee growing countries have this luxury. He says that globally, there will be much less area available to grow coffee due to climate change.
The new study offers more details about the Ethiopian coffee scenario than Laderach's global study, but it does not factor in pests or diseases which are likely to become more prevalent with climate change.
What can be done to help Ethiopian coffee farmers?
There are a number of things that can be done to help Ethiopian coffee farmers adapt to climate change, including:
Providing financial assistance to help coffee farmers move their plantations to higher altitudes.
Providing training to coffee farmers on sustainable farming practices that can help them reduce their vulnerability to climate change.
Investing in research and development to develop new coffee varieties that are more resilient to climate change.
Creating markets for coffee that is grown using sustainable practices.
By taking these steps, we can help Ethiopian coffee farmers ensure that the world continues to enjoy the delicious and unique coffee that Ethiopia has to offer.