Climate change to increase pests in coffee crops: Expert

Pests and diseases such as coffee berry borer, coffee rust and leaf spot disease could make a strong comeback due to drastic climate change, a scientist has warned.

IANS| Last Updated: Sep 14, 2014, 03:23 AM IST
Climate change to increase pests in coffee crops: Expert

Bogota: Pests and diseases such as coffee berry borer, coffee rust and leaf spot disease could make a strong comeback due to drastic climate change, a scientist has warned.

"Climate change was thought to affect coffee very gradually, but some shocking situations are being reported as a result of really drastic, chaotic changes, such as very little or too much rain," Efe quoted Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI) researcher Peter Baker as Saturday at the 25th International Conference on Coffee Science.

According to Baker, coffee rust and leaf spot disease and the coffee berry borer, an insect that colonises the coffee berries as they mature, could again represent a threat to the world's coffee growers.

The researcher said that the increase in the pests and diseases, which could occur in a matter of months or years, is due to variations in temperature and the lack of funds for monitoring and researching these phenomena.

"Growers are not receiving adequate compensation for all their work, and that means they can't allocate the funds needed to mitigate the impact of climate change," Baker said.

He added that coffee growers have few tools to deal with climate change and that African and Latin American countries are hit hardest by this problem, which is spreading once more due to deforestation.

On the African continent, particularly in East Africa, frequent droughts affect coffee crops, while Latin American plantations are being damaged by flooding and torrential rains.

The expert recommended the collection of rainwater along with the strategic use of shade for the care of coffee plants and the protection of the soil, among other measures to mitigate the impact of climate change.