Threats of Climate Change on Arabica Coffee (Coffea arabica L.) in its Center of Origin Ethiopia

Date: Sunday, January 10, 2016
Time: 5:20 PM
Room: Pacific Salon 3
Girma Adugna , Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia
Gezahegn B Yadessa , Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia
Fikre L Ocho , Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia
Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica L.) contributes 70% of the world’s coffee bean production and consumption. Because C. arabica evolved in the moist evergreen afromontane rain forests of Ethiopia, it is a remarkably climate-sensitive species. Over the past decade, documented evidence indicates that climate variables, mainly scarce rainfall, increased drought, and increasing temperatures cause major detrimental effects to Arabica coffee production/yield and quality, and ultimately threaten existence of the crop in its center of origin, Ethiopia, the major reservoir of genetic diversity for the species. The direct impact of climate change includes stressed growth of the coffee tree, limited flowering and berry development leading to poor yield and unacceptable quality. Emergence and/or resurgence of severe outbreaks of diseases (leaf rust, coffee berry disease, wilt, and leaf blight), insects (coffee berry borer, antestia bug, leaf miners, scales and aphids) and nematodes are inevitable. The current global areas of coffee production are projected to shrink by 9.5, 17, and 33% in 2020, 2050 and 2070, respectively. Moreover, the future distribution of indigenous Arabica coffee in Ethiopia is forecasted to decline by about 65% in a number of bioclimatically suitable locations, and in the worst scenarios 100% reduction by 2080. Climate change is inevitably threatening the world coffee industry and unique Arabica coffee genetic resources in Ethiopia, unless adaptation and mitigation strategies are collectively implemented soon. Development of advanced genomic tools to accelerate diversity characterization and their enhanced utilization for genetic improvement to generate drought/stress-tolerant, disease-and insect-resistant coffee varieties are major priorities.