Climate change will make Ethiopian coffee highland

Climate change will make Ethiopian coffee highland

Scientists from the University of Addis Ababa, together with colleagues from the UK analyzed the future of the coffee plantations in Ethiopia and came to the conclusion that to maintain yields, farmers have to carry farm higher in the mountains.

Migration of the plantations will help protect them from climate change, which already affects the coffee crop. A study published in Nature Plants.

Ethiopia is a leader among African countries in the production and export of coffee. The major coffee regions located in the South-West and South-East of the country. A large part of coffee trees (Coffea arabica) grows in areas covered with — now or in the past — humid evergreen forests, on the altitude of 1200-2200 m above sea level.

In recent years, Ethiopian farmers are experiencing hard times. The climate becomes more arid and unpredictable, the duration of the rainy season is reduced, and this negatively affects the yield of plantations. Since 1960, the average annual temperature in the country rose by nearly half a degree. According to old residents, if sixty years ago the harvest was each year, at the end of the twentieth century, harvest was only every third year, and now is a good coffee crop can be expected every five years.

In order to predict the future of coffee plantations in a changing climate, the researchers conducted field research in all modern areas of growth of coffee within Ethiopia and have used climate models (GCMs — General Circulation Models) to predict future climatic conditions in Ethiopia until 2099.

The result was a proposed four scenario.

One of them predicted the fate of the plantation if they would remain in place (No Migration), another suggested a complete change of habitat coffee (Full Migration), and two proposed intermediate scenarios.

According to the predictions, in the worst case, if you do not develop the potential areas for growing coffee, the area of plantations should significantly decrease. If actively explore new areas for plantations, and their area by the end of the XXI century can be increased four times. However, it is necessary to make a program to preserve and increase the area of wet forests, because coffee trees need to grow in the shade.

In any case, the height at which is located the plantation, it is necessary to increase the average to 32 meters in ten years.

Thus, the area of coffee growing may be up to 2600, and in the extreme case even up to 3300 meters above sea level.

In 2016, the export of coffee brought Ethiopia $ 800 million, accounting for a quarter of the proceeds from all export of the country. The amount of coffee Ethiopia is the fifth in the world rankings, ahead of it are Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia and Indonesia.

Daria Spasskaya