Environment

How Climate Change Affects Colombia’s Coffee Production

If your day started with a cup of coffee, there’s a good chance your morning brew came from Colombia. Home to some of the finest Arabica beans, the country is the world’s third largest coffee producer.

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Climate change poses new challenges to coffee production in Colombia, as it does to agricultural production anywhere in the world, but a new University of Illinois study shows effects vary widely depending on where the coffee beans grow.

“Colombia is a large country with a very distinct geography. The Andes Mountains cross the country from its southwest to northeast corner. Colombian coffee is currently growing in areas with different altitude levels, and climate impacts will likely be very different for low altitude and high altitude regions,” says Sandy Dall’Erba, professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics (ACE) and director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) at U of I. Dall’Erba is co-author on the study, published in Agricultural Systems.

Other studies on the future of coffee production have either considered the country as a whole, or focused on a few areas within the country.

Dall’Erba and lead author Federico Ceballos-Sierra, who recently obtained a Ph.D. from ACE, look at climate and coffee production for the entire country, broken down into 521 municipalities. This high level of detailed information allows them to identify significant regional variations.

“Colombia is not going to experience reduced productivity overall. But when we look into the impact across municipalities, we see many differences that get lost in the national average. That has important implications for coffee growers who live in one municipality versus another,” Ceballos-Sierra says.

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