The world’s most popular coffee bean, arabica, is under threat in the country where it was first found.
According to new research, rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall could render as much as 60% of Ethiopia’s coffee-growing areas unsuitable for cultivation by the end of the century. As many as 15 million Ethiopian farmers, or about 15% of the country’s population, depend on the industry.
“Arabica coffee originates from the highland forests of Ethiopia, and it is our gift to the world,” said Sebsebe Demissew, a senior botanical scientist at the University of Addis Ababa and one of the coauthors of the study published in Nature Plants this week. “As Ethiopia is the main natural storehouse of genetic diversity for Arabica coffee, what happens in Ethiopia could have long-term impacts for coffee farming globally.”