Climate change threatens the world production of coffee

News 13 July, 2017
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    Thursday, 13 July, 2017 00:50

    Thursday, 13 July, 2017 00:50

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    Climate change threatens the world production of coffee outpaced by demand in recent years, have warned of the experts and the colombian authorities during the first world Forum of producers.

    “Everyone will be affected. The coffee is very sensitive to slight variations in temperature. While it (the temperature) will rise, all of them (the countries) will be affected”, said to AFP, the Brazilian José Sette, executive director of the international coffee Organization (ICO), which brings together 43 countries-exporting and seven importing.

    The cultivable lands for coffee could be reduced by half by 2050 because of rising temperatures which also promotes the development of diseases affecting the plant, according to a report from the Institute of climatology, australian of 2016.

    Production below consumption

    According to the ICO, the production is below consumption for the past two years.

    Between October 2015 and September 2016, 151.3 million bags of 60 kilos of coffee were consumed, representing a deficit of 3.3 million bags filled by the overproduction of the previous years.

    Since 2012, the consumption of this raw material is experiencing an average annual growth of 1.3%, adds the organization.

    A lower production could not meet the world’s demand, explained to the AFP Roberto Vélez, the director of the national Federation of coffee growers of Colombia (FNC), the third largest producer in the world.

    “The climate shocks are much more virulent,” said Mr. Vélez at the Forum, which closed its doors Wednesday in Medellin (department of Antioquia, north-west), the country’s second city.

    He took the example of the wave of frost of 1975 in Brazil, the largest producer and exporter of grains of black gold, which has destroyed half the crop. If such a scenario were to be repeated, “where would we be 25 million bags ?”, he asked.

    Heavy rains

    In 2016, Brazil has collected 51.4 million bags, but a decrease of 11.3% this year is expected, due to the biennial cycle negative of the arabica.

    The colombian president Juan Manuel Santos has warned during the Forum that the land in brazil will be in the future less suitable for the culture of coffee, the global warming affecting more countries distant from the Equator.

    For his part, Roberto Vélez has warned against the concentration of harvests in key producers (Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia and Honduras), where a possible phenomenon of climate would endanger the offer.

    Thus, “this year it’s not going to be (coffee production) in some regions” of Colombia, he emphasized, explaining that the south american country had had to cut at least 14 million bags the production projections for 2017 due to the heavy rainfall recorded between November 2016 and early march.

    Some 25 million families in 60 countries live of the coffee production, a market of 100 billion dollars worldwide, according to figures from the ICO in the first quarter of 2017.

    The response of producers to cope with climate change is based on two axes: adaptation and mitigation of this impact, summarizes Mr. Sette.

    According to the head of the OIC, the first point concerns the whole of society and the country, beyond the sector of the bean cultivation farming, this makes it essential to the reduction of carbon emissions.

    Concerning the second axis, the solutions require a change of the planting sites, the cover of the coffee plants by other species that provide shade, the creation of more resistant varieties and increased production per hectare.

    The viability of the producers, whose revenues are directly affected by the loss of harvests, is one of the main challenges in the sector, according to these experts.

    The american economist Jeffrey Sachs has argued that producer incomes have fallen by two-thirds since the beginning of the Twentieth century.

    “When there is a problem linked to climate change, these families of farmers, we are talking about millions of people, are hungry and have serious problems,” said Fernando Morales, founder of Coffee for Change, a project based in Strasbourg, which supports small-scale producers.