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Climate Change and Coffee - Başak Bozoğlu

For most people, the best moment of the day is when they drink coffee. Coffee has a different place for many people, both as a means of socializing, increasing productivity, relaxation, and motivation. Thanks to its different types, tastes, smells, and aromas, the habit of drinking coffee is an indispensable habit for most people in their lives. Unfortunately, this situation is about to change. Climate change has begun to affect coffee production dramatically, as well as affecting the entire balance in the ecosystem.

We can see the problems that climate change has created, specifically through the example of coffee. A coffee bean is a plant suitable for growing in hot regions. But as temperatures rose, producing coffee became more and more difficult. Coffee has large and small growing areas in farmland in the equatorial region of the world. But by 2050, coffee-growing conditions will be one of the areas that will be most affected by climate change, and there will be a 50% decrease in coffee-growing regions. The equatorial region, where the air temperatures are above seasonal normals, is becoming less and less suitable for coffee. In the measures to be taken against climate change, there will be a 76% reduction in the most suitable regions of Brazil for coffee in the lowest temperature scenario. In Colombia, this is estimated to be a 63% decline. It is expected that 60% of coffee varieties will disappear in the future, with temperatures not falling below the average level due to climate change.

Source: National Geographic

Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Colombia are the regions where the most coffee is produced in the world. The areas suitable for growing coffee in these regions are decreasing day by day. This is a serious problem not only for those who consume coffee but also for the economy of the producers. In addition to being one of the most important beverages in the world, coffee is also a source of income for millions of small farmers. Small agribusinesses began to turn to avocado and cashew plants instead of cultivating coffee trees. However, transferring the agricultural diversity in a region from one species to another negatively affects many factors such as ecological diversity, soil structure, and humidity in the region. In a study published this month by Roman Grüter at the University of Applied Sciences in Zurich, climatic factors include long dry seasons, variation in average temperatures, low minimum temperatures and spikes and decreases in annual precipitation, low soil pH, changing the structure of regions of unfavorable soil texture, and coffee grounds. It has been shown to severely constrain the ecosystem conducive to The time required to grow the highest-quality version of a crop takes place after 30 years of adaptation to weather conditions. For this reason, farmers producing for major coffee brands in the region are encouraged by the brands to continue their coffee production. For example, Starbucks distributes climate-resistant coffee varieties to farmers and works to protect at-risk forests in key coffee-growing areas. The reason is that four of the world's five largest coffee producers (Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, and Indonesia) are expected to reduce drastically over the next ten years the size and suitability of their agricultural land area.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, smallholders produce one-third of the world's agriculture needs. The importance of coffee in climate change is that it is much easier for small farmers to make a living from coffee instead of wheat and corn, and the demand for coffee is high. Besides other agricultural products, coffee is a crop that does not need to be cultivated years before harvest, has a very short waiting period, but is very sensitive to seasonal conditions. For this reason, the loss of millions of people to form their livelihood indicates that there may be a serious farmer and coffee shortage in the future. For this reason, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FDA) is trying to encourage the cultivation of different coffee varieties that can tolerate higher temperatures, not replacing coffee fields with avocado, cashew, or tropical fruits so that small producers can overcome this change financially and morally.

With climate change, our access to many products is being restricted day by day, and agricultural products are getting more expensive day by day. Research shows that increasing temperatures, heavy rainfall, and severe drought will reduce coffee quality and diversity, causing coffee lovers to drink low-quality coffee. Along with the increasing supply and cost problems during the pandemic period, coffee prices increased by more than 40 percent in 2021. Along with these problems, coffee is probably waiting for its turn to take its place among luxury consumer goods in the coming years.

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