Climate change threatens the future of coffee

Climate change threatens the future of coffee

By 2050, 50 percent of the areas used for coffee cultivation could disappear. The two largest coffee producers, Brazil and Vietnam, would be particularly affected.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Will we soon have to give up our daily morning coffee? It is uncertain whether it will turn out that bad. In any case, a study from 2014 indicates that close to 50 percent of the acreage that is suitable for growing the two varieties Arabica and Robusta could disappear by 2050. The price of coffee is also expected to increase. The reason for this is climate change. Although coffee production could move further north in the future, this would have bitter consequences for existing coffee farmers. An estimated 100 million people are involved in coffee production worldwide. Many millions also work in processing and trade. Already today, the working conditions are in some cases precarious. There is a risk that the situation could worsen further.

Global breeding network

Due to climate change, the growing conditions for crops are changing, in some cases drastically. Therefore, new varieties must be bred with properties that, for example, can still be exposed to greater heat and water scarcity. The organization “World Coffee Research” is launching a global breeding network next year with the aim of promoting modern plant breeding technologies in producer countries. Research is also carried out into which newly bred varieties grow best in which environment.

New varieties thanks to genome editing

With genome editing, decaffeinated coffee, which is often unsatisfactory in taste, could be made tastier. In a gfs survey that asked about Swiss consumers’ acceptance of genome editing for various purposes, this probably failed as a “pure lifestyle purpose”. However, applications that make plants more resistant to climate change were very clearly supported by 76 percent.

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