Environmental problems in coffee production you cannot expect.
– PROTECT THE ORIGIN –
Coffee is one of the most traded products in the world. This means it is produced and exported on a global scale. Large-scale agricultural production can cause negative impacts that you may not expect. What are the environmental problems in coffee production? Let’s find out with 43 Factory Coffee!
Environmental problems in coffee production originate from large-scale
More and more sustainability programs are being implemented on coffee farms, but that doesn’t mean environmental problems don’t exist. According to many experts, the majority of environmental problems in coffee production are the result of large-scale farming. As Steffen Sauer – founder of the Ulinzi Africa Foundation (a non-profit organization that partners with rangers in East Africa to protect local wildlife) said, environmental protection issues in the coffee industry are relevant to all large-scale agricultural industries because of economies of scale.
Some recent studies show that coffee farming and export activities account for the majority of total carbon emissions throughout the entire supply chain. The reason is that monoculture coffee plantations lose soil moisture, and too much chemical fertilizer residue leads to emissions. Transporting coffee consumes fuel such as coal, oil, gas, etc. to operate ships and cargo planes.
In addition, improper use of agricultural inputs on large-scale farms can be an environmental concern. If applied incorrectly, chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides can cause severe damage to the environment and surrounding wildlife. Excessive use of these chemicals on a large scale can lead to deterioration of soil quality, as well as groundwater contamination.
Coffee production is gradually destroying the natural environment
It is estimated that on average, up to 13 million hectares of forest are lost in the world each year. This bad development is due to the demand for agricultural production including coffee. Rapid declines in forests not only destroy habitats for animals, insects, and birds but also mean there are fewer trees to sequester carbon. Many pieces of forest were cut down to be replaced by coffee monoculture farms. Forest land without stratified canopies that retain heat and block sunlight will gradually lose moisture and accelerate desertification. This is especially worrying, because experts have predicted that if deforestation continues as it is, by 2050, half of the global Arabica coffee growing area could be wiped out.
What is the solution to environmental problems in coffee production?
Some farmers are gradually turning to more environmentally friendly farming methods such as integrated farming and agroforestry. Intercropping with native plants has been shown to produce higher-quality coffee while promoting biodiversity. This can also provide farmers with natural methods of pest control, as birds and small animals can eat insects that damage coffee plants. Additionally, increasing the number of coffee trees planted in the shade would encourage less deforestation, absorb more carbon dioxide, and require fewer chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides.
However, for many producers (primarily smallholder farmers), these changes may require a significant financial investment and may not pay immediate dividends. Because organic farming can help sustain the environment, it can also lead to lower yields so producers may not receive as much income.
Therefore, in addition to encouraging sustainable farming at the farm level, we need to highlight the role of certifications. Certification programs are popular in the coffee industry, especially those that require businesses and coffee farmers to implement more sustainable practices. For example, organic certification has strict regulations for farmers – mainly related to not using chemical inputs, not deforestation, etc. Possessing these certifications helps farmers access easier than the market, and improves the value of coffee.
Although sustainable measures have been implemented, more legislation, investment, and awareness are needed to address some of the environmental issues associated with coffee production. Promoting environmental protection in coffee production depends on whether customers are willing to pay more. So, let’s use scientifically grown coffees, ensuring to limit negative impacts on the environment like the Specialty Coffee lines of XLIII Coffee – A brand developed from the predecessor 43 Factory Coffee Roaster!