Last Updated on October 16, 2020 by Nick Baskett
Coffee is one of the largest exports from Costa Rica and the effects of global warming and climate crisis have created weather patterns and other harmful effects that make growing coffee, an industry at risk.
Over the last 10 years, the Costa Rican coffee industry has been affected by a rise in temperatures, increased rainfall, and infestation of pests.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s foreign agricultural service, there has been an estimated 44% drop in overall coffee production.
The Arabica coffee plant is very sensitive to any changes in temperature. Ideal growing conditions are between 64 and 71 degrees. In the period of 1901 to 2000, temperatures have risen by 0.9 to 1.8° F (0.5 to 1.0° C) according to studies in the Journal of Climate. Any variation within ten degrees above and below that number results in a significant decrease in yields and bean quality.
Increased rainfall over the years have resulted in the younger coffee crops developing poorly established or rotted roots, as well as delayed development of the plants. Frequent flash flooding has also eroded precious spoil from some of the more expensive coffee crops grown on steep hillsides.
Infestations of pests have been highly destructive to the coffee crops; the Coffee Berry Borer, for example, has become the number one destroyer of coffee crops worldwide.
These beetles bore into the coffee berries and lay eggs. When the larvae hatch, they feed on the coffee seeds, resulting in major yield losses and poorer quality berries.
Scientists predict the rise of Central America temperatures to be greater than the previous century’s rise. This will inevitably lead to increased coffee berry borer infestations, strained or stunted coffee growing seasons, wildfire, and flooding posing a major threat.
Costa Rica unveiled its plans last year to achieve zero emissions by 2050 in the climate change fight to save the coffee industry that’s already affected.