How Climate Change Affects Colombia’s Coffee Production


If your day started with a cup of coffee, there’s a good chance your morning brew came from Colombia. 

If your day started with a cup of coffee, there’s a good chance your morning brew came from Colombia. Home to some of the finest Arabica beans, the country is the world’s third largest coffee producer. Climate change poses new challenges to coffee production in Colombia, as it does to agricultural production anywhere in the world, but a new University of Illinois study shows effects vary widely depending on where the coffee beans grow.

“Colombia is a large country with a very distinct geography. The Andes Mountains cross the country from its southwest to northeast corner. Colombian coffee is currently growing in areas with different altitude levels, and climate impacts will likely be very different for low altitude and high altitude regions,” says Sandy Dall’Erba, professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics (ACE) and director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) at U of I. Dall’Erba is co-author on the study, published in Agricultural Systems.

Other studies on the future of coffee production have either considered the country as a whole, or focused on a few areas within the country.

Dall’Erba and lead author Federico Ceballos-Sierra, who recently obtained a Ph.D. from ACE, look at climate and coffee production for the entire country, broken down into 521 municipalities. This high level of detailed information allows them to identify significant regional variations.

Read more at University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Image: Federico Ceballos-Sierra, University of Illinois, surveys coffee plants at his family farm in Colombia. He is lead author on a study estimating how climate change will impact Colombian coffee production. (Credit: College of AC ES, University of Illinois)