The natural weather phenomenon, which usually lasts between nine months and a year, disrupts typical rainfall and temperature patterns and, in some places, can create extreme conditions such as droughts or unusually heavy rains. At
climate change created by can be harmful to the crops that supply the world’s coffee – many of which are grown in regions already affected by climate change. El Nino
“It seems that the negative influences of
El Nino are exacerbated by long-term climate change, which is of concern to coffee growers and food security in general,” said Aaron P. Davis, researcher and specialist in the study of crops and global change at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, from Great Britain, in E-mail.
We still don’t know exactly how the
El Nino will manifest. Some of the main coffee production sites might even be able to achieve favorable conditions for growing coffee, but others might experience the opposite, confirms Aaron Davis. “These impacts may vary within a single country,” he added.
Here’s what you need to know:
How do we do
El Nino can affect coffee production?
The vast majority of the world’s coffee supply is made up of two varieties: Arabica and Robusta.
arabica coffee) it has long been a favorite of the coffee industry, but the bean is hypersensitive to temperature changes, raising concerns about its future in a warming world. The robust ( cafe canéphore) – so named because of its robustness – is increasingly being touted as a potential solution to help mitigate the effects of climate change on coffee.
El Ninowhich can bring unusually hot and dry conditions to regions with large coffee productions, can affect the production of both types of beans, warns Christian Bunn, a scientist at the International Bioversity Alliance and CIAT, for E-mail. A peer-reviewed study, published in March, concluded that “substantial deviations” from the optimum growing conditions for Arabica and Robusta varieties “are considered an indication that an area is currently or at risk. future, under climate change, unsuitable for growing coffee”.
But other experts say that this year of
El Nino it may even affect Robusta crops more than Arabica crops. “We always assume that the hardy variety is more hardy, as the name suggests, and will be more resilient to climate change,” said Chahan Yeretzian, director of the Coffee Center of Excellence at the University of Applied Sciences in Zürich. “But the situation we will have to face this year could prove the opposite: that Robusta will be more affected.”
El Nino threatens to hit some of the key regions of the world responsible for producing a significant amount of the world’s robusta supply, such as Vietnam and Brazil, said John Baffes, chief economist and commodities analyst at the World Bank. . Vietnam, for example, produces more than half of the world’s Robusta supply.
However, there is still room for some hope. The study published in March concluded that the meteorological phenomenon could have less impact in southern Brazil, which means that this region could be fundamental to offset the risks associated with the
El Nino for the global coffee supply. The country is the world’s largest producer of the Arabica variety. What does this mean for coffee lovers?
El Nino drastically reduce coffee production and quality, consumers could end up paying higher prices, Davis said, although some of the increase could be absorbed by the coffee sector.
Last week, Robusta coffee prices hit their highest level in 15 years, according to Reuters, citing “tight supplies” and “concerns about future production due to
This year’s weather disruptions could spell trouble for the coffee market, which Baffes says is still recovering from a “big shock” associated with a recent drought in South America, which hurt Brazil’s crop and caused drive up prices. . Meanwhile, food prices in general have also increased. The combined pressure of these factors could still force coffee companies to raise prices, he warns. “My feeling is that it will have an effect, but it is also unlikely that prices will rise much above what we saw in the first half of 2022,” he retorts.
Are there solutions?
Adaptation practices to help increase the resilience of coffee crops include mulching, cover crops, irrigation, better shade, contour planting and barrier crops, among others, Bunn lists. However, while these strategies are worth investing in, these responses need to be put in place over a long period of time and are unlikely to help coffee farmers cope with an immediate crisis.
Meanwhile, experts say work is underway to develop improved types of coffee that are more drought and heat tolerant. Efforts are also being made to create alternative coffees, including a cell culture variety.
“It’s important to understand that coffee is increasingly becoming a high-risk investment,” Bunn concludes. “Regardless of individual events, the entire industry is very concerned about climate change.”