STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 5, Number 5

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44 STiR coffee and tea / Issue 5, 2016 (October/November) By Dan Bolton YIRGACHEFFE, Ethiopia Ascending from the desperation of its arid lowlands, Ethiopia displays its lush greenery and signs of prosperity among the farmers who grow coffee on mountains 5,800 to 7,300 feet above sea level. It is here in the higher slopes and plateaus that arabica could survive. Rain makes all the difference and it is rain that will ultimately determine the fate of the world's greatest repository of wild-grown and cultivated coffee, according to researchers who spent the past four years compiling remarkably detailed maps de- picting changes in coffee production through 2100. The Strategic Climate Institutions Programme (SCIP) project "Building a Climate Resilient Economy for Ethiopia" de- veloped these maps to predict the suitability of arabica production over the entire country. Ethiopia's 16 coffee producing regions are "graduated from excellent to un- suitable" over time. Dr. Aaron P. Davis, senior research leader, plant resources at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in Richmond England, presented preliminary findings from the resil- ience project in March at the 4th World Coffee Congress organized by the Interna- tional Coffee Organization (ICO) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The project began with highly detailed Landsat 8 satellite images of coffee forest cover and then superimposed environmental data, and crop yields, and varietals. The project team then traveled 30,000 kilometers across Ethiopia interviewing growers and agronomists to validate and perfect the models, in order to produce resilience assessments at the farm-level. The model predicts severe declines in lands suitable for arabica production and the sobering finding "that climate drives not only productivity but also quality." A peer-review is underway with publication expected in the spring of 2017. Climate change vulnerability A joint study by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) under the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) The cradle of coffee may be its salvation as researchers working in Ethiopia identify farm-level adaptations to protect arabica from threats posed by climate change Bellwether Ethiopia Workers in Yirgacheffe processing facility cull dried coffee beans. Coffee is grown between 1,750 and 2,500 meters and experiences 1,500 to 1,800 mm of rain annually. Farms cover 21,192 hectares of the 29,158 hectares in Yirgacheffe. There are 29,279 growers tending after 39.3 million trees. Coffee trees are grafted to well estab- lished root systems to improve drought resistance. Researcher Dr. Aaron Davis finds that simple, cost-effective farm adaptations give the best results

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