Anthropology, Weather & Climate Change

Climate Change and Economic Sustainability - The Case of Robusta and Arabica Coffee
Location Senate House - Montague Room
Date and Start Time 28 May, 2016 at 09:00
Sessions 1


  • Sharon Nelson (University of Technology) email

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Short Abstract

A panel discussion to discuss: climate change and economic sustainability - the case of Robusta and Arabica coffee. With increases in temperature and varying rainfall patterns the consumers and producers of this commodity will examine issues of the threat of climate change.

Long Abstract

Coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world with Coffee Arabica accounting for 70 per cent of the global coffee market by volume. With both Arabica and Robusta accounting for approximately US$16.5 billion in calendar year 2010(ITC 2011).Coffee exports is a vital contributor to foreign exchange earnings, tax incomes and GDP for many countries. However the share of coffee in total exports has been falling (ITC 2011). It is posited that the impact of climate change is a contributory factor.

In a study conducted by the International Center for Tropical agriculture it was predicted that with global temperatures forecast to increase by 2 degrees Celsius to 2.5 Celsius and new rainfall patterns over the next few decades, the livelihood of millions of small farmers in coffee producing countries is under threat from climate change.

It is necessary for this threat to be taken seriously and adequate preparations made to implement suitable adaptation measures. Participants will discuss these issues in a panel discussion. Panelists are welcome frome producers of coffee as well as from the consumers of coffee. Each of the panelists will present for seven minutes then a discussion will follow.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.


Governing Climate Resilient Coffee in Ethiopia

Author: Mark Hirons  email

Short Abstract

In Ethiopia concern is mounting concerning the potential impacts of climate change on coffee and the 4.5 million livelihoods it supports. This paper examines the prospects for, and barriers to, developing governance arrangements which support climate resilience in the sector.

Long Abstract

In Ethiopia, the home of Arabica coffee, concern is growing about the potential impact of climate change on the crop and the 4.5 million livelihoods it supports. Coffee Arabica usually grows at altitudes between 1600-2100m in semi-forested agro-forestry systems. The species has a relatively narrow envelope of climatic suitability and modelling studies by Davis et al. (2012) suggests that the area of bioclimatically suitable space of Coffee Arabica in Ethiopia could decline between ~38-90%, depending on the emissions scenario. Developing governance structures which can reduce vulnerability and increase adaptive capacity among farmers is imperative. By assessing the political economy of the coffee sector against the principles of resilience this paper aims to assess the barriers to and prospects for governing a resilient coffee sector in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Climate Resilient Green Economy is then reviewed briefly before a rich multi-level description of the political economy of Coffee sector is provided. The paper draws on existing literature and a series of individual and group interviews with farmers and decision-makers around Yayu biosphere reserve and in relevant Regional and Federal offices. The analysis highlights three key areas that require attention: The incentives for farmers to grow high shade coffee, the dysfunctionality of local markets and the on-going protection for protected forests for genetic conservation.

Climate change in the Mexican coffee region: potential changes in productivity and implications to food security

Author: Erick de la Barrera (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)  email

Short Abstract

Four states are predominant coffee producers in Mexico, one of the largest producers globally. Given geographical particularities, climate change is likely to affect them differentially. In turn, socioeconomic and agricultural differences will determine their vulnerability and adaptation ability.

Long Abstract

Coffee in Mexico, one of the ten largest producers globally, is predominantly produced in the south-eastern states of Chiapas, Veracruz, Puebla, and Oaxaca, although half of the states have some production. Coffee plantations cover some 3.3% of the cultivated surface of the country and generate about 1.3% of the annual agricultural revenue. Given their topography and exposure to two oceans, climate change models project different scenarios for each state that could result in different potential productivity of coffee and of agriculture in general. Mexican coffee production has focused in higher value specialty and organic coffees, which preclude various practices that could aid in adaptation to some consequences of climate change. The economic and developmental situation of the coffee-producing states, and communities, varies from almost exclusively agrarian to diversified industrialized economies, which in turn provides different capacities of adaptation to climate change during the present century.

The Other Green Gold: "The impact of Climate Change on Blue Mountain Coffee"

Author: Sharon Nelson (University of Technology)  email

Short Abstract

The production of Blue Mountain Coffee, Jamaica’s premium specialty coffee is declining. This paper comments on the decline of production, the impact of climate change and the farmers’ adaptation measures and makes recommendation for the adoption of future measures.

Long Abstract

The production of Blue Mountain Coffee, Jamaica's premium specialty coffee is declining. Climate change accounts for a part of this decline: hurricanes, diseases and drought.

Climate change is a major challenge to agriculture development in Jamaica due to the country's small land mass, fragile ecosystems, high dependence on food imports and increasing impacts of frequent natural disasters. It is important that Blue Mountain Coffee address the issues of climate change. Failure to do so will result in further reductions in the coffee yields. In a study done by the World Bank in 2011 for the Government of Jamaica - Coffee industry Board, Ministry of Agriculture they found that coffee grown by farmers in the Blue Mountain Region of Jamaica is subject to damage from high winds and heavy rains associated with major tropical cyclones (hurricanes and tropical storms) . They identified strong winds and heavy rainfall as the risks associated with the greatest losses on the coffee sector in the Blue Mountains.

This paper comments on the decline of production, the impact of climate change and the farmers' adaptation measures and makes recommendation for the adoption of future measures.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.