Guatemala: Mexico and Central America can lose around a third of coffee land due to global warming, a study of regional farms shows. Laderach, whose organisation is based in Colombia, is leading a team of scientists who started studying 7,000 small farms in Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua in 2009 and has predicted this situation.
The researchers map the farms with satellite positioning devices to collect data on altitude and crop production. That information is then cross-referenced with climate change models to track how different areas will be affected by hotter weather and changes in rainfall.
Due to the rise in temperature, there could be at least a 30 percent net loss in land suitable to farm coffee in Mexico and Central America by 2050 forcing many farmers to turn to different crops, said Peter Laderach, a lead researcher at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture.
The research has shown that maximum damage may happen at lower altitude. On the contrary, higher altitudes, which now are too cold to grow coffee, will become farmland.
With the help of research data, scientists are suggesting solutions to farmers. Some can plant shade trees to lower the temperatures over their trees, others can change to drought resistant varieties of coffee or install irrigation systems.