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Saturday, April 14, 2007

"Coffee Production At Risk..!!"

(As mentioned about coffee in my previous article (For all coffee freaks!!) , "Coffee production at Risk" is its continuation.)

In the present 21st century, where "mankind" is progressing 24/7 with ramphant growth of IT sectors, Ghizmophilics and Ghizmoholics, increased metros and urban sprawl, where each next door of a shop or a mall, an office or a counaught square has a cafeteria, called " thy-cafe", say its Cafe Coffee Day or Barista oe Nescafe stalls, their real craze and essence "The Coffee" is at risk...!! and this risk factor isnone other than the old issue"Global warming". Global warming poses a threat to future world coffee crops with rising temperatures and drought likely to force some producers to seek higher and cooler land according to a report issued by analyst F.O. Licht, London.

For a long time now, we have been witnessing change in climate esp in the tropics with increased heat waves, thunderstorms, tsunamis, droughts, floods and famines which are nothing but just the manifestation of the Global Climate Changes, enhanced to many folds by various anthropogenic actions. Climate change has its impact on each and everything from skyscrapers to living beings, from high glaciers melting to the rise of sea levels by .05cm/year, and nevertheless devastating catastrophes that have caused record injuries, deaths, and losses of lives, lands and properties. And now a report on global warming affecting the coffee plantations has sent shock waves around the globe. According to the report, global warming poses a threat to future world coffee crops with rising temperatures and drought likely to force some producers to seek higher and cooler land. A rise in temperatures of about 2 degree Celsius would mean a “dramatic” reduction in the coffee growing area with producers moving to higher regions where there is less suitable land available.

India’s coffee growers are likely to face two major problems. One, increasing temperatures and reduced rainfall affecting their crops and resulting in droughts. Other, loss of pollinators-drop in the number of bees that fertilize the coffee flowers. Even a third problem stands to stare, that is, threat from a destructive pest, white stem borer, to the coffee plantations.

From time immemorial, coffee has been "shade-grown plant", as like in Darjeling and Ooty, growing in cooler climatic conditions. But a recent trend shows shift from shade-grown ancient coffee variety to "sun-grown coffee" by a majority of countries. Shade grown coffee has its own benefits. Most varieties of coffee are naturally intolerant of direct sunlight, and grow well under a canopy of trees, that protect the coffee from direct sun and their organic wastes of fallen leaves restore the fertility of the soil and help retain soil moisture. The nitrogen-fixing shade trees are in addition a habitat for birds and butterflies that, in turn, provide natural insect control with their constant foraging, thus aiding natural fertilizers and pesticides for the coffee plantations. Futher the pollinators (bees) and seed dispersers (birds) are the major co-existing components of coffee plants in that ecosystem. Moreover, forests, being the “carbon sinks", coffee forests (mostly plantation forests), serve to cool the earth surface by evapo- transportation of millions of gallons of water that in turn helps in cloud formation, and gives abundant rainfall.

In such conditions, global warming poses a serious threat to the future coffee world, coffee being a major cash crop in many tropical countries esp the rainforest patches. In a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) research project, Uganda, for instance,it was concluded that a rise in temperatures of about 2 degrees Celsius would mean a “dramatic” reduction in the coffee beans formation.

The Coorg coffee region, of India, with rising mean annual temperature and reduced rainfall would have a detrimental impact on the annual coffee production. "Whether or not some coffee regions eventually fade away is anyone’s guess, but one thing is certain — coffee farmers by and large are a tenacious breed because often enough they have no other viable sources of earning a living,” the report said (The Economic Times).

Meanwhile, Robusta coffee futures ended slightly higher in London on Wednesday, lifted by trade buying with volume boosted by rolling forward of positions out of the front month, dealers said. Benchmark May finished up $7 at $1,544 a tonne after trading in a range of $1,545 to $1,535. Dealers said the market was supported by gains in New York Arabica futures amid signs that the US market may be bottoming out after recent weakness. They noted, however, the London market continued to lack any clear overall direction with prices still well within its recent trading range of $1,457 to $1,584, basis May. (The data was obtained from news reviews.)

It's high time for the mankind to realise the "forecasted" devastating causes of global warming, and that in long run they are actually selling their own lands-'their mother earth', and putting their generation X in a dilemma , The consequence is very much evident that the very life of the life cycle will be disturbed affecting not only the flora and fauna of the ecosystem, but also making man to suffer the most and thus justifying the very old saying "As you sow, so shall u reap...!!".