BEACON TRANSCRIPT – We already know that climate change has terrible effects on the environment. Its most recent and unexpected victim is the caffeine industry in Ethiopia. Global warming has affected the conditions in the country, which might soon become precarious for growing coffee.
A new study published in the journal Nature Plants suggests that, if temperatures continue to increase for the next century, about a half of Ethiopia’s coffee-growing areas would become unsuitable for such plantations.
Rising temperatures would affect coffee plantations
Ethiopia used to be the perfect place for Arabica coffee trees to grow. These plants need a mild climate to thrive, with temperatures between 59 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. However, climate models bring bad news.
Climate scientists have discovered that the climate in Ethiopia will gradually turn drier and warmer, which is bad for coffee trees. Therefore, between 40 and 60 percent of the areas which are currently suitable to grow beans will no longer have the optimal conditions.
In fact, temperatures have already started rising, and the weather is more unpredictable than it used to be. These conditions already have visible effects, and Ethiopian coffee grows are struggling to keep their plantations safe. What is more problematic is the fact that the entire economy of the country is affected.
The entire economy of Ethiopia is at risk
Ethiopia is the first coffee producer in Africa, and the fifth country in the world which exports coffee. Around 15 million farmers depend on coffee growing to make a living, so a strike in the caffeine industry has consequences on the whole Ethiopian economy.
However, the future is not that dark. The study also showed that these temperature fluctuations would make other areas at higher altitudes perfect for coffee farming. In fact, the coffee production would increase if harvests are moved in these areas.
The study comes with its limitations, since these climate models are quite unpredictable. However, even in the worst case scenario, there is still hope for Ethiopia’s coffee industry.
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