How Climate Change Will Affect the Future of Coffee


| LAST UPDATE 01/30/2022

By Hayden Katz
coffee crops climate change
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In roughly 30 years from now, at around 2050, the world will look different in several ways. As the population is estimated to reach 10 billion people, an increase from today's 8 billion, and as climate change evolves, we can expect to see a shift in agriculture. One crop that will specifically be affected is coffee. Here's what studies have shown so far.

A study was published in the journal PLOS One that researched how warmer climates will influence crop growth. The results indicated that four out of the five best countries in coffee making - Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, and Indonesia - will see a decrease in size and suitability in the areas where the bean is grown. The fifth greatest coffee-making country, Ethiopia, is expected to remain the same when it comes to production. While the main areas will see a decrease, a few regions that are outside of the tropics, including the United States, Argentina, Uruguay, and China, may have the opposite happen. They will likely see an increase in the coffee-growing suitability.

avocado crops climate change
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But coffee isn't the only crop that will be modified over the years. Michael Hoffman, the author of the book Our Changing Menu, explained, "Take your computer and type in climate change followed by your favorite food, and you will, half the time, get a climate change story affecting your favorite food." The previously mentioned study also examined the growing environment for avocados and cashews. Although coffee has the largest change due to climate change, the other crops saw complicated and varied results. There was a large 55% reduction of suitability for cashews to be grown as temperatures rise in West Africa's Benin. But in other regions, there was only a single-digit decline. Overall, the land suitability for cashew crops is expected to drop 17% all over the map. 

Avocados also had diverse outcomes. Since these fruits typically grow in rainforests, they are mainly cropped in the Dominican Republic and Indonesia. It's expected that by 2050 these areas will see a decrease of about 14 to 41%. Regions where avocados are somewhat suitable will see a drop of 12 to 20%. As climate change continues to increase temperatures, researchers are searching for ways to adapt to the new conditions. Some have even begun testing new crops. Agriculture climatologist Pam Knox from the University of Georgia noted, "Farmers are already taking advantage of this in the southeastern U.S. by trying out new crops like olives and satsumas." Stay tuned.

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