CAFS staff and volunteers heard a talk from Joe Human this week about the growing crisis for the coffee industry suffering because of the impact of climate change.

The enlightening talk went through the journey of coffee and the stories of coffee farmers that Joe, who has worked with coffee farmers for over 15 years, has visited.

With over 2bn cups of coffee drunk worldwide every year the impact of climate change on coffee growing countries, such as the increase in annual temperatures and the decrease in rainfall cannot be underestimated. In Ethopia, farmers have reported weather patterns becoming more unreliable and heavy rain which is causing stress to the coffee bushes. The quality of the coffee yields are also impacted by an increase in pests.

A man presenting in front of a whiteboard

Joe Human

This picture is repeated globally,  it has been estimated that areas suitable for coffee growing will be cut by up to 50% by 2050, a direct condequence of the climate crisis.

But there is a way forward – and the Fairtrade Climate Academy, funding by the Dutch national lottery has been exploring ways to mitigate and adapt, and Joe explained the concepts of agroforestry to both encourage biodiversity and to sequester carbon.

The Fairtrade Climate Academy raises awareness of climate change through programmes that target Fairtrade cooperative leaders and focuses on local conditions. As an example; growing shade trees in Kenya which can also be a source of income,  a look at varying irrigation methods and producing a manual for Fairtrade certified coffee producers that is designed to support best practice.

There is no doubt that the impact of the climate crisis is a rising concern for the coffee industry, and, as Joe explained, it is a race against time to save one of our most familiar high street staples.

If you’re interested in this subject, or would like to organise a talk you can contact Joe via email.