Ethiopia’s coffee industry threatened by climate change
Ethiopian farmers seek alternative measures as higher temperatures affect the country’s coffee industry.
Global warming is affecting the lives of an estimated 15 million Ethiopian farmers, who heavily rely on the coffee industry for their livelihood.
Ethiopia is Africa’s largest coffee producer and ranks fifth globally, but dry spells are having a direct effect on production.
“The amount of coffee we can produce is fluctuating, especially when there is a lot of sun during the dry seasons in recent years,” Kebede Garmamu, coffee farmer, told Al Jazeera.
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Reporting from Sidama, in southern Ethiopia, Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, said: “A recent study says that up to 60 percent of the area in which coffee is grown in Ethiopia may be unsuitable to do so by the end of the century because of the effects of climate change.”
Coffee plants ideally need mild temperatures between 15 to 26 degrees Celsius to thrive.
Farmers are now taking extra measures and growing alternative crops to combat the problem.
Garmamu, who has been growing coffee for more than 20 years, plants false banana trees to provide shade to the coffee plants.
With higher temperatures especially hitting the low-land areas, researchers believe farmers could potentially increase their yields four-fold by moving to higher regions with a more suitable climate.
“Coffee is the most important crop for this country,” said coffee Melese Gebergiorgis.
“Coffee is the country’s biggest export earner, which is why the government is so focused on helping deal with the effects of climate change.”