STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 5, Number 2

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 25 of 83

26 STiR tea & coffee industry international / Issue 2, 2016 (April/May) Yirgacheffe arabica The birthplace of arabica seems a fitting place to determine its future By Dan Bolton Arabica in 2050 Photos by Tessa Tucker/STiR Tea & Coffee ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia Andrea Illy, one of the most respected and forward-thinking business executives in coffee, is worried: arabica is under siege. By 2050 global demand will double while land suitable for growing arabica is re- duced by half, he told delegates at the International Coffee Organization's (ICO) 4th World Coffee Conference. Scorched by rising temperatures, parched for water or alternately pounded by rain, arabica is "one of the crops which is severely affected by climate change, which is a threat both in terms of high temperature in the regions where it is produced and a threat in terms of water security," said Illy, chairman and c.e.o. of the renowned Italian coffee company founded in Trieste by his grandfather in 1933. Illy explained that in much of the world the best acreage for cultivating arabica is located in climate zones that are the most vulnerable to excessive heat and drought. In some countries such as Colombia, Guatemala, and Ethiopia farms can be relocated or "upsloped" to cooler climate zones 500 to 1,000 meters higher up the mountain but in much of Central America, Asia and Brazil arabica farmers have nowhere else to grow. Arabica production worldwide has stalled yet "we need to quadruple productivity in 35 years," he said, adding, "We have a problem we need to fix." Severe shortfall The severity of the shortfall varies year to year but arabica production appears to be at least 25 million 60-kilo bags less than demand. Coffee growth already has reached double-digits in countries with massive populations like India and China. Assuming a population increase of one billion by 2025, and accelerators that include the fact dis- posable incomes are rising globally, the shortfall could reach 45 million bags. Consumption is four times the compound average growth rate of two decades ago, noted Illy. "I think that is quite a dramatic improvement triggered by the existence of a virtuous circle of well-being that coffee consumption gives to the consumer and the development opportunities that it creates for growers," he said.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of STiR coffee and tea magazine - Volume 5, Number 2