- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Brazil is the world's leading coffee exporter, contributing billions of dollars to the global food economy. Yet, a majority of Brazilian coffee farms are operated by 'smallholders', producers with relatively small properties and primarily reliant on family labor. While previous work indicates that climate change will decrease the area suitable for coffee production in Brazil, no study has assessed the impacts of climate change on coffee yields or the relative exposure and vulnerability of coffee producing regions to changes in climate hazards (climate-associated losses in yield). To address these knowledge gaps, we assess the sensitivity of coffee yields to temperature and precipitation variation from 1974 to 2017 to map coffee climate hazards. Next, we identify which coffee producing regions in Brazil have the highest exposure to climate hazards due to high dependence of coffee production as a proportion of agricultural area. Finally, we generate a Vulnerability Index to identify which regions are theoretically least able to adapt to climate hazards. Our study finds that since 1974, temperatures in Brazilian coffee growing municipalities have been increasing by ~0.25 °C per decade and annual precipitation has been decreasing during the blooming and ripening periods. This historical climate change has already resulted in reductions in coffee yield by more than 20% in the Southeast of Brazil. Minas Gerais, the largest coffee producing state in Brazil, has among the highest climate hazard and overall climate risk, exacerbated by ongoing coffee expansion. Additionally, many municipalities with the lowest adaptive capacity, including the country's mountainous regions, also have high climate exposure and hazards. Negative climate hazard and exposure impacts for coffee producing regions could be potentially offset by targeting climate adaptation support to these high-risk regions, including research, extension, and credit subsidies for improved coffee varieties, irrigation, and agroforestry and diversifying agricultural production. Show more
Journal / seriesEnvironmental Research Letters
Pages / Article No.
PublisherInstitute of Physics
Subjectclimate change; agriculture; smallholder; vulnerability; Cerrado; Latin America; coffee
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