Farmers in Latin America have always viewed coffee as a way to make a living, and currently, the coffee industry employs over 14 million people across Latin America.
However, within the last few years, climate change has threatened the welfare of millions of producers and their families. The ones hit the hardest have been the smaller producers with less than two hectares of land.
Climate change experts are saying that global temperatures will be on the rise this century, increasing anywhere between 1.5ºC and 4.5ºC in the hottest months. Scientists say we're going to be going through extreme periods of rain and drought, which would make farming even harder.
In order to grow correctly, coffee crops require very specific temperatures, light, and humidity levels. These needs are best met in Latin America's coffee belt, which is a region that includes countries between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
The problem is that this is changing because rising temperatures would significantly reduce suitable areas for growing coffee by up to 50% by 2050. The solution is to ultimately look at the coffee's DNA.
There are currently over 120 species of coffee plants, yet analysts gathered data and identified that we consume mainly coffee beans from two species: Coffea arabica, which is known as Arabica, and Coffea canephora, known as Robusta.
Arabica has a lower tolerance to rising temperatures and has a smoother and sweeter taste, while Robusta has a stronger and more bitter taste. It's also much easier to grow and produces a larger bean.
Today, 60-80% of the world's coffee production is Arabica. The remaining 20-40% is Robust. However, climate change is hurting Arabica's output.
The IDB, Inter-American Development Bank has made the commitment to helping coffee producers and other farmers across Latin America. They approved $2.6 million in financing to create a Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Environment program with the goal of making the coffee industry more resilient.
In addition, they want to create and support projects that will transform the coffee and cocoa industries, making it easier for them to survive and ultimately thrive with climate change.