Climate change is already putting production and cost pressures on the supply of coffee in significant parts of the world’s “bean belt” of coffee producing countries.
Increasing temperatures and extreme weather events will cut the area suitable for production by up to 50 per cent, erode coffee quality and increase coffee prices for consumers, according to The Climate Institute’s “A Brewing Storm:
The climate change risks to coffee report”, released on Monday.
“Over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed around the world every day, with nearly half of Australians drinking coffee regularly,” said CEO of The Climate Institute, John Connor. “Yet coffee is just one of a multitude of things increasingly subject to negative climate impacts, and its negative flow-on effects.”
“Our A Brewing Storm report, commissioned by Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand, researched available information on climate risks to coffee, and should give a jolt to Australian coffee consumers and provide more reason for urgent climate action.”
World coffee production has more than trebled since the 1960s to supply the $19 billion trade that continues to deliver a five per cent increase in consumption annually. Yet, between 80 and 90 per cent of the world’s 25 million coffee farmers are smallholders who are among those most exposed to climate change.
They generally live and work in the “bean belt” which comprises around 70 mostly developing countries, including Guatemala, Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Ethiopia and Indonesia. Climate change threatens their world, the report says.
“Without strong climate action, the areas suitable for growing coffee could halve in a few decades, pushing production upslope, away from the equator and into conflict with other land uses, such as nature conservation and forestry. By 2080 wild coffee, an important genetic resource for farmers, could be extinct.”
Heightened temperatures and rainfall have already increased the incidence of disease and pests affecting yields and quality. In already hot countries, more warming will also increase burdens on the physical and mental health of producers, labourers and communities – with clear productivity consequences.