Climate Change Will Be Disastrous to Ethiopian Coffee Industry Without Intervention

In Ethiopia, the native birthplace of arabica coffee, as much as 59 percent of the country’s current coffee production area could become unsuitable for coffee growing by the end of this century due to the effects of climate change, according to research published today in Nature Plants.

Conversely, as temperatures rise and rainfall decreases, suitable coffee growing lands in Ethiopia could increase if coffee production is moved to higher elevations, combined with forest conservation and restoration, according to the published study results.

The study was led by Aaron Davis of the Kew Royal Botanical Gardens (UK), who has been on the leading edge of climate and coffee research in recent years, along with RBG’s Justin Moat and Tadesse Woldermariam Gole of the Environment and Coffee Forest Forum.

“We found that a ‘business as usual’ approach could be disastrous for the Ethiopian coffee economy in the long-term,” Moat said in a press release in conjunction with the publication today. “Timely, precise, science-based decision making is required now and over the coming decades, to ensure sustainability and resilience for the Ethiopian coffee sector.”