By Bertrand Reysset
Global landscape forum. 5 Dec. 2015
Climate is not only modifying what is inside our dishes, but also what is in our coffee cups. The Global Landscape Forum, held in Paris Saturday, presented some recent works showing that Arabica coffee production is tremendously threatened by global warming. Warmer climate means warmer soils, and that means less production.
Hopefully some technical solutions can help to save time for a while: shading coffee crops with trees can buffer climate warming impacts while at the same time increasing soil fertility and carbon storage. Mulching or intercropping can reduce heat stress on coffee trees roots. Many options have been tested by the Coffee and Climate Initiative , a public private partnership, and are now going to be scaled up for 70,000 smallholder coffee producers.
But this will not be enough to ensure our daily cup of coffee tomorrow.....As Mario Cerutti, Coffee Corporate Relations Director at Lavazza, says “there are 20 million coffee producers in the world, mainly smallholders. If private companies, governments and extension services do not join hands, coffee supply is to shrink soon”. A sad perspective for smallholders and customers!
IFAD is nonetheless already committed in climate resilient coffee production through for instance its NICADAPT programme in Nicaragua where shading and diversification is promoted to buffer the impacts of climate change on smallholder livelihoods. Increased effort is still needed if we want to enjoy our daily cup, but hopefully we have some recipes to deal with it!