A new study determined that the Ethiopian coffee industry will most likely be facing difficulties and be affected as a consequence of climate change. A combination of less rainfall and higher temperatures could bring serious damages to the coffee crops and production process.
The Ethiopian Coffee Industry or the Largest African Arabica Producer
Ethiopia is well known for introducing the Coffea arabica to the world, and for being the largest Arabica coffee producer in Africa. Coffee crops are a backbone of the country’s economy, and around 15 million residents rely on it to make a living.
Now, a recent study points out that, this same crop could be severely affected by the changing climate. Research found that Ethiopia could lose between 39 to 59 percent of its coffee-growing regions due to such changes by the end of this century.
According to climate data, rainfall levels in the country have fallen by almost 40 inches since the 50s. Droughts have also become increasingly more common these past few years. Mixed, these both have an effect on coffee growing regions.
Still, there is still hope, according to the study paper. Researchers determined that the Ethiopian coffee industry could get a reprieve and adapt to the new climate conditions by moving its plantations. Over the coming decades, these could start being relocated to new or more suitable locations.
Most of the coffee crops of the country are grown in its highlands, as lower-altitude regions could become increasingly inhospitable for the Arabica. Presently, plantations are situated at altitudes of around 1,200 to 2,200 meters, but research suggests they could go even higher.
Coffee farmers could also potentially expand their lots through such a method. Or even adopt other mitigation strategies, such as mulching or irrigating. However, the research team admits that these are all quite complicated measures.
“It looks easy in the paper, just move everything upslope, to higher ground. But in reality, it’s going to take a lot of coordination, a lot of effort and a lot of resources to do that,” states Aaron Davis.
He is the one of the new study’s authors and a scientist part of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London.
Study results are available in a paper in the journal Nature Plants.
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