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At risk. Coffee Photo: CD Bank
At risk. Coffee Photo: CD Bank

Climate change threatens coffee crops

New report says wild coffee plants are at risk of becoming extinct within 70 years

Published: 12.15.12, 07:58 / Israel Environment

A new report by the UK's Royal Botanic Gardens has found the climate change may wipe out wild coffee plants within 70 years.


According to the Daily Mail, climate change, compounded by the loss of forests and invasive pests, are threatening one of the world's leading coffee plant – Arabica - in its native habitat of Ethiopia.

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Arabica grows in mountain forests and is widely considered to be the most popular coffee type in the world, making up 70% of global consumption.


The majority of wild coffee forests can be found in south Sudan and Ethiopia, which is the largest producer of coffee in Africa.


According to the report, commercial Arabica plantations produce only a fraction of the coffee harvested, and the plant in innately vulnerable to infection and environmental changes.


Should anything seriously endanger the Arabica plant, the affects on the world’s coffee supplies would be immense.


A shortage is also likely to effect world markets as coffee is the second most traded commodity after oil.


Coffee exports amount to worth $15.95 billion a year.


Poor crops and high demand have resulted in increasing coffee prices on the commodity markets and experts warn that should wild Arabica forests become extinct, prices would sore.


"It is crucial that we preserve Arabica in its natural habitat. Without these wild reserves the coffee industry is vulnerable to pests or disease," Aaron Davis of the Royal Botanic Gardens told the Daily Mail.


"Our modeling shows that changes in the climate and weather conditions will have a profoundly negative effect on wild coffee plants. The worst case scenario is that Arabica coffee ceases to exist in the wild in 70 years.


Researchers said that the potential extinction of Arabica coffee plants was a "startling and worrying prospect."


Arabica is grown in tropical climates across the globe. Seventy countries produce coffee worldwide and the industry employing more than 26 million people.




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