Coffee is one of the most consumed drinks in the world. For many people, a day doesn’t start right without a good cup of coffee and personally speaking, quite rightly so.
So here’s news that will break every coffee lovers’ heart like it did mine. There is going to be a global shortage of coffee and an exponential rise in prices in the coming times, and like most of our problems in 2021, COVID-19 is to be blamed for it here as well, along with climate change.
Let’s take a look at how.
COVID-19 Ensued Lockdown Protocols In Vietnam
Vietnam is one of the major producers of the robusta bean. It is the bitter-tasting category of coffee which is mostly used in instant coffee mixes and few espresso blends.
Ho Chi Minh, the country’s famous exporting hub, deals with most of the global shipping of beans. The city and its ports contribute to exporting coffee through a global network running from China to Europe.
But with an unexpected rise in COVID-19 affected patients’ in Vietnam, strict lockdown protocols have been implemented in and around the city.
While Vietnam had dealt with the spread of the virus with extreme precautionary methods in 2020 and succeeded in it as well, they were not prepared for the much worse Delta variant of the virus.
So even though the implemented protocols and restrictions were duly necessary to contain contamination, they have resulted in a huge estimated impending shortage of coffee globally as the movement has been limited.
The exporters have already been facing logistical issues while transporting the beans to the ports for the shipment because of a severe shortage in shipping containers and high costs. The COVID-19 ensued lockdown protocols are making the scenario worse.
Socio-Economic Effect Of COVID-19
Plant diseases have always been one of the issues that farmers have had to deal with and cope with. Coffee farmers are no exception. Coffee leaf rust is one such plant disease that has plagued the industry in bouts for a long time.
In a recent study led by Rutgers University, the light was shed on how COVID-19 is yet feared to play a part in the potential threat of the epidemic of coffee leaf rust making a comeback
The study was released in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and had researchers from the University of Arizona, the University of Hawaii at Hilo, CIRAD, Santa Clara University, Purdue University West Lafayette and the University of Exeter contribute to it.
They delved into history and studied the reasons for the earlier onset of the plant disease, and found how poor investment and maintenance of the coffee farms were the causes.
Now with COVID-19 impacting the socio-economic scenario of all industries and resulting in a huge decline in labour and employment and unfavourable international border policies, the researchers fear that investments in the coffee industry will see a downward graph as well.
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Hence the crops won’t get enough maintenance and adequate care and will become likely to fall prey to the coffee leaf rust disease resulting in a massive production crisis.
Lead author Kevon Rhiney, an assistant professor in the Department of Geography at Rutgers-New Brunswick said, “Our paper shows that coffee leaf rust outbreaks are complex socio-economic phenomena and that managing the disease also involves a blend of scientific and social solutions.”
He also said, “There is no ‘magic bullet’ that will simply make this problem disappear. Addressing coffee leaf rust involves more than just getting outbreaks under control; it also involves safeguarding farmers’ livelihoods in order to build resilience to future shocks.”
Effect Of Climate Change
Another reason that is going to cause a shortage in the global coffee supply is climate change.
Brazil is the largest coffee producing country in the world and climate change-induced events are affecting the country’s yield. Brazil is experiencing record drought and scarce rainfall. This is affecting coffee bean farming to a dangerous extent in terms of production.
The variant of coffee that is primarily grown in Brazil requires precise environmental conditions to deliver the best quality yield possible. But with respect to recent climate change, the quality has been threatened.
The high temperatures due to the droughts are forcing farmers to migrate to geographically higher and cooler locations but this remains far from being a sustainable solution to the problem.
All these factors are feared to cause a massive shortage and an unbelievable rise in the prices of coffee worldwide.
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