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Scarcity of Coffee Looms


January 23, 2019

There are around 124 known coffee species in the world and close to 60% are threatened with extinction. The Arabica species from Ethiopia that produces most of the coffee beans and is the world’s most popular, is also at the risk of extinction. This looming scarcity of coffee will have a direct effect on the supply and push up the price.

The effect of the extinction isn’t felt yet by coffee drinkers worldwide but there is a growing concern among coffee bean farmers. Many coffee bean species are located in Africa and Madagascar, and extinction threat is a result of deforestation, climate change, changing weather patterns and diseases. Despite the current rate of production, scientists still expect that the cultivation of Arabica will halve at the turn of the century.

Ethiopia, the largest exporter of coffee, could see an 80% reduction in cultivation of the Arabica in a country where around 15 million people work on coffee plantations. All of this will lead to an increase in price as there is a need to make profit. For the last two years, coffee farmers have been dealing between loss and slim rewards. To recoup from this loss, the coffee farmers are expected to shoot up the prices of coffee bean.

There are ways of improving the prospects of the future of coffee, ranging from preventing deforestation, improved management of protected areas, as well as research into the threatened coffee species that have the potential to be used to breed and develop the coffees of the future that may be more resistant to the changing weather and the increase in disease.