International Coffee Day – let’s celebrate before there’s nothing left.
The future’s looking bleak for coffee drinkers, as an independent report finds it could be just a matter of decades before appropriate areas for coffee-growth could be halved.
Erratic weather and climate change is largely to blame for the bleak forecast, as hotter weather and increased rainfall become the biggest burden for farmers, leading to an increase in disease and pests affecting their yield.
Coffee producers in Papua New Guinea have been hit particularly hard, with periods of extreme rainfall, followed by long droughts – patterns far too erratic for the cultivation of their biggest agricultural export, coffee.
And in already hot countries, more warming will also increase the mental and physical burden on producers, labourers and their communities – which could then lead to consequences in productivity.
Even half a degree in temperature difference could have a detrimental effect to the product, according to the report commissioned by Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand.
The report also found that wild coffee could become extinct by 2080, which is equally bad news.
Wild coffee plants form a storehouse of genetic resources that could prove vital, in the development of new, drought and disease-tolerant bean varieties.
Chief executive Molly Harriss Holson said coffee supported the livelihood of 125 million people, including some of the most marginalised and poor.
“Fairtrade is working with small scale farmers to improve agricultural best practises, educating them on preventative measures. Such as buffer zones to prevent erosion, and the use of mulch or planting shade trees to prevent excessive moisture stress that is known to affect coffee production,” Holson says.
But all is not lost, she says.
“The first step is to learn about these issues and the steps being taken by Fairtrade and others; the second is to take real action by choosing to buy only the brands that are carbon or climate neutral, provide a fair return to farmers and their communities while helping to build their capacity to adapt to climate change.”
She says the third and final step was to demand action from coffee companies and governments to ensure all products and businesses are carbon neutral.
Just over 50 per cent of kiwis going out of their way for their daily cup of Joe, while 2.25 billion cups are consumed every day around the world.