Mount Kilimanjaro, the symbol of Africa, stands majestic in the northeastern part of Tanzania. Locals have benefitted from its bounty for many decades. But in recent year, crop yields have diminished as snow-fed springs trickle down the Mountain. In Kilimanjaro, coffee used to be king.
It’s no secret that climate change poses a serious threat to coffee production around the world. Over the years, Tanzania has seen more frequent flooding and droughts, putting agricultural production at risk more than ever before. Higher temperatures have already decreased Tanzanian coffee farming by about 50 percent since 1960, and recent research suggests that soon, Tanzania coffee farmers won’t be able to profit at all. As Tanzania’s third-largest export, coffee plays an immensely important role in the nation’s economy -- and a threat to coffee would pose a threat to the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of farmers.
Countries throughout East Africa and other coffee growing regions around the world are likewise expected to experience reduced yields if current trends continue. As the world feels the effects of global warming more acutely, coffee farmers, the vast majority of whom live on razor thin margins, are likely to be among the hardest hit.
How Tanzania's Farmers Are Adapting To A Changing Climate
In small holder farms nestled on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, some farmers are abandoning coffee farming due to climate stresses, falling prices and rising production costs. They are cutting down aging coffee trees and replacing them with vegetables
“That is the best thing I could do to earn a living – coffee beans are no longer profitable as my harvests keep on falling,” one farmer says. “I need fast-growing crops I can sell for a quick income.”
These veteran farmers depended for decades on coffee farming. But climate shifts, together with a rust disease that causes trees to shrink and become unproductive, have decimated their yields.
How Grand Paradé is Supporting Tanzania Coffee Farmers
As global temperatures continue to rise, it’s up to us as coffee exporters and consumers to support Tanzania coffee producers, and this mission is reflected in Grand Parade Coffee’s Tanzanian Kilimanjaro coffee. In addition to funding local projects and paying our Tanzanian coffee producers premium prices, we are also dedicated to helping them adapt to the effects of climate change. By training them in beehive farming, teaching them to farm additional crops (such as maize and bananas), and helping them adopt mitigation strategies (such as irrigation and the planting of shade trees), we’ve helped Tanzanian coffee farmers not only survive in this climate, but thrive.