Farmer holding coffee plant damaged by climate change

The uphill battle of coffee and climate

It’s easy to take your morning cup of coffee for granted. Forgetting that it traveled thousands of miles and was grown in an environment with just-the-right temperature and humidity to let it thrive.

Climate change is already affecting coffee growing communities around the world. Now is the time to reflect on our impact and make changes so that we can all adapt together.

Illustration of earth featuring North and South America

Coffee requires a very specific range of temperature and humidity to thrive. It is grown in mountainous regions just north and south of the equator.

Fairtrade coffee farms are small, typically 2.4 acres. For comparison, the average farm size in the US is 435 acres.

The average American drinks over 3 cups of coffee per day.

Climate change is already here

From plant diseases to damaging pests to more destructive natural disasters and dwindling crop harvests, climate change is already a current reality for coffee farmers around the world. Because the cost of coffee continues to be low, many farmers don’t have the resources to farm sustainably, let alone adapt to this crisis. The unfortunate reality is that unless farmers get better trading conditions and there is a collective global shift to better support farmers, we will all be left with empty cups.

By 2050, the amount of land that can sustain coffee will have fallen by 50%.

Rising temperatures are increasing plant diseases

Segundo Alejandro Guerrero Mondragón is a Fairtrade coffee farmer in northeastern Peru where the rising temperatures are negatively affecting coffee in the form of leaf rust. This plant disease weakens the branches of the coffee plants and ultimately decreases the amount of coffee cherries it will yield. This decrease in harvest has a devastating effect on the income of small-scale farmers that are already grappling with extremely unfair trading conditions.

Prolonged dry spells are decreasing harvests

Zeddy Rotich is a coffee farmer from Kenya where prolonged dry spells are affecting both the timing of when coffee can be harvested and the amount that is viable.

 

coffee beans
Stronger together

Prioritizing the planet

All year round, we collaborate with over 758,000 coffee farmers worldwide. We fight for the planet through our rigorous standards, increasing farmer resources through our unique pricing model, and by connecting farmers to best practices through programs like the Climate Academy.

Over the past 3 years, 10,000 coffee farmers in Kenya have participated in this training program. In that short time, they have seen remarkable changes in their farms. From increased harvests to diversified income streams to renewable energy sources, this collaborative program has improved the quality of life for farmers today and has provided critical tools for resiliency in the future.

When you drink your cup of coffee, I invite you to remember it comes from a place where people are working to build a different world in which we have peace, in which there is light, there is water, there is air for our future generations.

Miriam Zelaya

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