Climate Change and Ethiopian Coffee

The historical climate data reveals the climatic change experienced by Ethiopia. There is enough proof of evidence that temperature has risen steadily and significantly all over Ethiopia. Furthermore, indications point to decrease in rainfall in some areas, including some major coffee areas. Accounts from coffee farmers and coffee-farming community certify the recorded climate data. Same goes with observations from coffee farms and Arabica plants occurring in climate-sensitive areas.

Climate change projections for this century are not rosy, with temperature increases projected to rise at a steady and significant rate. Variations in rainfall are less certain, with projections swinging from a slight increase to slight decrease, or little change, for the duration of this century. These variations will have a significant negative influence on coffee production in Ethiopia, due to decreasing climate suitability in many of the areas that currently grow Arabica coffee.

To simplify, in areas with higher and less humid coffee farming suitability is expected to worsen. Yet many areas that are currently too wintry for coffee farming could become friendlier to Arabica coffee (particularly at a higher altitude close to areas that currently have a suitable climate for coffee growing), and many (but not all) area’s that currently have climate favorable.

Despite the bleak prospects, there could be prospects of substantially increasing coffee production in Ethiopia, if new coffee farming is discovered, particularly at higher altitudes where it is much cooler. Fortunately, Ethiopia has many high ground areas, providing the considerable potential of moving coffee farming to higher slopes as temperature increases. There could be a potential for quadruple increase, although multiplying of the suitable land area conducive to coffee growing would be more realistic given the various limitations.

Shifting to this way would clearly involve some major adjustments: new coffee production areas would have to be established, during a specific time period and specific locations. There are indications that this transformation is already taking place, with coffee now being expanded into altitudes previously not seen before. In short, there could be a course to continued and even expanded coffee farming in Ethiopia, even with climate change, if careful and timely measures are made. There could also be an effective environmental benefit, as many of the new coffee areas would require considerable tree planting in order to provide the right conditions for sustainable coffee cultivation.

Kerchanshe Trading is one of the top coffee exporters in Ethiopia. The best of our coffee beans are procured from Yergachefe, Lekempti, Gimbi, Djimma and Sidamo, names that symbolize fine Arabica coffee. To know more coffee stories sip into our website.