Global demand for coffee and cocoa is on the rise. Yet across the equatorial belt where these two crops are produced, the future is not looking bright. Climate change in the tropics is pushing coffee and cocoa closer to the limits of physiological tolerance and constraining the places where they can grow in the future.
A new study examines future climate scenarios in Mesoamerica and how they could affect the distribution of these crops from Panama to Central Mexico. Coffee production, especially of Arabica coffee, will likely decrease as global warming and extreme weather events reduce the geographical areas where it grows best, and increase susceptibility to pest and disease outbreaks—coffee leaf rust affected 70% of the coffee farms in Central America in 2017. Cocoa may have a more positive future.