Climate change refers to a change in average weather conditions or the variation of weather within the context of longer-term average conditions. This paper reviews that the impacts of climate change on coffee production and potential adaptation measures in coffee sub-sector in Ethiopia. Accordingly, Ethiopian coffee industry is potentially at risk due to the negative impact of climate change on suitability of coffee production. Climate change been severely affecting the national income of the country in general and the livelihoods of poor smallholders in particular via undermining coffee yield and quality. Furthermore, several studies predicted that will continue to impact coffee production in the future. Accordingly, a policy measure that enforces and promotes irrigation, mulching, pruning, tree shade management, drought, pests and diseases resistant high yield improved coffee variety development for coffee production is paramount
Since Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica L.) distributed from Ethiopia and spread to the Yemen peninsula, possibly as early as 575 CE (Anthony, et al., 2002), coffee has become an important agricultural commodity worldwide with more than a billion cups consumed every day. In 2014, more than 8.5 million tons were produced by 26 million coffee farmers in 52 countries with an export value of 39.3 billion US$ (ICO, 2016) as cited in (Hironsa, et al., 2018). Ethiopia is leading Arabica coffee producer and exporter in Africa (USDA, 2018). Coffee is the mainstay of the economy of Ethiopia via contributing 34% of total national export earnings in 2017/18 (USDA, 2019) and coffee farming is income basis for millions of poor smallholders as it offers living revenue for estimated 15 million Ethiopians, 15% of the population (Tefera & Tefera, 2015).
Climate refers to a long term average weather situation of a region that is measured by evaluating the patterns of deviation in temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind, precipitation, evaporation and other environmental variables of that particular region over long periods of time. Any imbalance of environment is happening through instances of heavy disturbances of climate that is known climate change. In other word, climate change refers to a change in average weather conditions or the variation of weather within the context of longer-term average conditions (Van den Bossche, 2017).
Scientists around the world now agree that the reasons of climatic changes occurring internationally are the result of human activity. Even though responsibilities for the origins of climate change primarily with the industrialized nations, the costs of climate change will be borne most directly by the poor. Each and every component of environment is affected by climate change (Scavia, et al., 2002).
Climate change already had a severe and negative effect on coffee production on coffee production throughout the world and it will also continue to impact in the future. As in another place, coffee in Ethiopia is vulnerable to climate change. Modelling studies by Moat, et al. (2017) indicates that the area of bio-climatically suitable space of Arabica coffee could decline approximately between 39 and 59% by the end of the century, based on the emissions scenario. In Ethiopia, rapidly increasing temperatures kill the plants at an alarming rate (Joel, 2014). Pests and disease that target coffee plants have risen in prevalence. Unless action is taken to slow down climate change or find alternative ways to keep coffee plants alive, Ethiopia will be in danger due to the importance of coffee production for their economies (Joel, 2014).
Growing recognition of the vulnerability of coffee to climate change has bigger interest in developing adaptation and coping strategies in the sector in Ethiopia (Kew, 2013) and the ability communities to cope with external stresses is viewed as an imperative in Ethiopia’s coffee sector, enabling it to continue to contribute to the long-term economic and social well-being of the country as well as coffee companies and millions of consumers (Hironsa, et al., 2018).
1.2. Objectives of the seminar
The general objective of this seminar is to present the impacts of climate change on Arabica coffee production and potential adaptation measures to be taken so as to withstand with adverse effects of climate change in Ethiopia.
The specific objectives of the seminar are:
1. To review the impacts of climate change on coffee production
2. To assessment potential adaptation options
Materials and Methods
This seminar paper is completely a review paper and relies on the secondary data. Accordingly, different published journals and reports largely supported in providing data in this paper. Therefore, no specific method has been followed in preparing this paper. The paper has been prepared by browsing internet, studying comprehensively various articles published in different journals, books, proceedings, dissertation obtained from different sources. All the information collected from the secondary sources have been compiled systematically and chronologically to enrich this paper.
Review of Findings and Discussion
3.1. Overview of Coffee Sector in Ethiopia
Ethiopia can be considered as the biological and cultural home of coffee as well the main storehouse of genetic diversity for Arabica coffee. Ethiopia is Africa’s biggest coffee producer and the world’s fifth largest exporter of Arabica coffee (International Coffee Organization (ICO), 2015). Even though productivities (kg/hectare) are low compared to other producing countries coffee farming alone provides a livelihood income for around 15 million people (Tefera & Tefera, 2015) and it is single most important source of income for many of coffee producers in the country (Environment and Coffee Forest Forum (ECFF), 2017).
Ethiopian coffee is largely grown under the shade of trees (shade or forest coffee), either within forest or forest-like environments, or in farming systems that incorporate specific shade plants – typically indigenous trees, or sometimes fruit trees and other crop plants. In some areas coffee is grown with little or no shade (sun coffee). Forest (shade) coffee and sun coffee can be regarded as the two main coffee production systems in Ethiopia (Environment and Coffee Forest Forum (ECFF), 2017).
Arabica coffee grows fruitfully within a narrow range of environmental conditions. Coffee will become increasingly stressed as the air temperature rises and soil moisture declines (due to lack of rainfall), and vice versa. Ethiopian coffee can habitually be considered as organic by default, and may possibly exceed the standards set for organic certification. Additionally, coffee production system of the country offers protection for biodiversity and other environmental benefits (Environment and Coffee Forest Forum (ECFF), 2017).
3.2. Ecological Requirements of Coffee Arabica
For optimum growth Arabica coffee desires about 15 to 25 degree Celsius, with well distributed rainfall, ranging from 1,600 to more than 2,000 mm, for a dry season lasting three to four months coinciding with the coolest period and at altitudes ranging from 1,500 to 2,800 meter above sea level (Davis, Gole, Baena, & Moat, 2012).
Whilst erratic rainfall at the beginning of the rainy season can cause abortion of flowers, high temperatures (> 28-30˚C) have been observed to reduce flower bud formation and cherry production (Davis, Gole, Baena, & Moat, 2012). On the other hand, increasing temperatures create a more favorable environment for the Coffee Berry Borer and can cause to increase losses by insects. Furthermore, droughts are expected to cause production losses and, in extreme cases, death of coffee trees (Moat, et al., 2017).
3.3. Observed and Predicted Effects of Climate Change in Coffee Producing Areas in Ethiopia
In Ethiopia from 1960 to 2006 mean annual temperature increased by 1.3˚C (USAID, 2016). Other observations also indicates significantly increasing trends in the frequency of hot days, and much larger increasing trends in the frequency of hot nights; the frequency of cold days has decreased significantly in all seasons except the dry season (December, January and February) for the same period (McSweeney, New, & Lizcano, 2010). The average annual temperature is projected to increase 1.1-3.1˚C by 2060, with hot days and nights expected to become more frequent (USAID, 2016).
It has been stated that the strong variability within Ethiopia’s annual and decadal rainfall makes it difficult to detect long term trends, and that there is no statistically significant trend in observed mean rainfall in any season for which climate data is available (1960–2006) (McSweeney, New, & Lizcano, 2010). However, based on data from quality-controlled climate station observations, it has been shown that spring and summer rains have declined by 15–20% since the mid-1970s and late 2000s, in southern, south-western and south-eastern Ethiopia (Funk, et al., 2008). Similarly, 10% reduction of rainfall of around across Ethiopia has been reported (1948–2006) (Jury & Funk, 2013).
Projections from different General Circulation Models (GCMs) are generally consistent in indicating increases in annual rainfall in Ethiopia (Niang, et al., 2014). Overall, projections based on GCMs for Ethiopia are highly variable across regions (Conway & Schipper, 2011 ) and for some regions the various GCMs do not agree on the direction of precipitation trend.