According to a new study from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, wild Arabica beans are struggling to adapt to new weather patterns caused by climate change and could be extinct by 2080, reports The Grocer.
“These are worrying prospects for the world’s favourite beverage – the second most traded commodity after oil, and one crucial to the economies of several countries,” the scientists said.
Approximately 70% of the coffee consumption in the world is derived from coffee Arabica plants. These plants are found in African mountain forests where they grow naturally wild. Most of the plants that are found in commercial coffee plantations throughout the world, get their plants from Ethiopia and Southern Sudan.
These plants tend to be vulnerable to problems such as infection and whenever a coffee producer runs into problems they simply return to this region to extract some healthier plants from the wild. Climate changes are expected to continue to cause the production of this crop to decline.
One biggest concern lies not in the issue of what consumers will drink but in the world economy. Coffee is one largest commodity in the world, second only to oil. Many of the countries of the world have economies that rely solely on production and distribution of this natural resource. This could create a crisis not only for coffee consumers but those who derive their income from this plant which will obviously hold serious consequences world wide.
“Optimum cultivation conditions are likely to become increasingly difficult to achieve in many pre-existing coffee growing areas, leading to a reduction in productivity, increased and intensified management and crop failure,” they warned.
Moreover, coffee prices have reached record highs recently amid soaring demand and poor harvests, they said. “It is perceived by various stakeholders that some of the poor harvests are due to changed climate conditions, thus linking price increases to climate change.”