Global Warming

Climate imperils Ethiopia’s coffee

Climate change could wipe out more than half of Ethiopia’s coffee production unless farmers move to higher ground, scientists warned Monday.

Climbing temperatures and dwindling rainfall have already degraded prime growing areas, such as the Zege Peninsula, they reported in the journal Nature Plants.

If global warming continues unabated, up to 60 percent of land currently used to grow coffee beans will be unsuitable for production by the last three decades of the century.

Home of the prized Coffea arabica plant, Ethiopia is the world’s fifth biggest producer of beans, after Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia and Indonesia, according to the International Coffee Organization.

Over the last 50 years, however, average temperatures across the country have risen by about 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), and rainfall in key regions has become spotty. Coffee areas that once flourished are in decline.

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