Climate change threatens coffee production in world’s best coffee producing region

AFRICA – As the world marks, International Coffee Day which is celebrated annually on October 1, food giant Nestle is concerned that the threat of climate change might lead to disruption of coffee production, reducing the area suitable for growing coffee by up to 50% by 2050.

International Coffee Day is aimed to promote, celebrate coffee as a beverage and educate people about its history, benefits, and popularity.

More importantly, the goal of the day is to promote the fair trade of coffee and raise awareness for the plight of coffee growers around the world.

Africa accounts for about 12% of the world’s coffee production and the high-quality and taste of coffee from the continent are loved by coffee connoisseurs worldwide.

However, scientists warn that without conservation, monitoring and seed preservation measures millions of coffee farmers on the continent could lose their livelihoods, impacting the quality of their lives and their families.

To help revitalize coffee production in Africa, much work is currently underway to boost production, which will improve the incomes of coffee farmers and encourage young people to pursue a career in coffee farming, eventually improving economic development across the region.

“The coffee industry including exporters and producers, together with governments in Africa, and worldwide, must all work swiftly as one to tackle climate change.”

Fatih Ermis – Head of Agricultural Services for Nestlé in Central and West Africa.

For Nestlé in Central and West Africa, sustainable coffee farming is attainable, and the company is joining forces to do this by rejuvenating, rehabilitating and replanting sustainable coffee now, and in the future.

Agricultural techniques, such as adapting the coffee tree crop formation including the structure, number of branches and canopy shapes, have been introduced to enhance growth.

Group training, individual farmer coaching and farming tools have also been provided to Ivorian coffee farmers to encourage the advantages of the correct pruning and maintenance of plantlets and trees.

As a result, about 6 750 hectares of coffee trees have been planted and more than 2 000 hectares of coffee farms have been rejuvenated across Côte d’Ivoire, producing over 2 000 metric tons of additional coffee supply and increasing farmer income by 25%.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nespresso the coffee operating unit of Nestle recently announced a long-term commitment to revive the country’s coffee industry, support Congolese farmers and restore production in regions that are under threat.

The program Reviving Origins program is also undertaken in Uganda, Zimbabwe and Colombia.

Africa accounts for about 12% of the world’s coffee production and the high-quality and taste of coffee from the continent are loved by coffee connoisseurs worldwide.

Calling for partnership to revitalize coffee production

According to Nestle, encouraging such behavioural changes in agricultural supply and enhancing economic development cannot be done alone.

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“The coffee industry including exporters and producers, together with governments in Africa, and worldwide, must all work swiftly as one to tackle climate change,” said Fatih Ermis, Head of Agricultural Services for Nestlé in Central and West Africa.

This is highly important to Nestlé, which is why the company’s CEO, Mark Schneider has signed on to the UNs ‘Business Ambition for 1.5°C’ pledge to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“We commit to such sustainability goals to advance the health of our planet, drive societal progress and support a sustainable, healthy food system,” added Fatih.

Scott Coles, the Business Executive Officer for Coffee at Nestlé Central and West Africa, continued saying, “Working together, we will be able to empower and provide long-term support to local farmers and their communities to rebuild their coffee industries and local economies, while meeting growing demand for coffee in Sub Saharan Africa.

“All of these steps will go a long way to help fulfill our purpose of unlocking the power of food to enhance quality of life for everyone, today and for generations to come.”

Last year, the Inter African Coffee Organisation (IACO) teamed up with the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) and the International Coffee Organization (ICO) to launch a multimillion fund to support Africa’s coffee industry.

Uganda promotes coffee consumption

In Uganda, the government is seeking to hire foreign coffee and health professionals to sensitise Ugandans about the benefits of consuming coffee.

According to a report by the Observer, although Uganda is Africa’s largest coffee exporter, it earns less than Ethiopia in revenues per unit.

This is because Ethiopia processes most of the coffee it produces and, although it sells most of it locally, it fetches more.

The Uganda Coffee Development Authority managing director, Emmanuel Iyamuremye indicated that they have also been training youths, barristers how to serve a good cup of coffee.

“We have helped to generate many cafes around the corners of Kampala but also upcountry you see the coffee culture coming up,” Iyamuremye said.

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