Climate change threatening our coffee, chocolate, avocados and hummus as well

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

By Uttara J Malhotra

The maple syrup might actually become a rarity. So could the avocados and peanut butter, not to mention hummus, as climate change gradually make some of the most exotic delicacies and ingredients extinct.

The list also include the vanilla pod and chocolate, thanks to the most significant shift in recent years — erratic water supply in most parts of the world.

As cold regions become warmer and warm places hotter, farming and fishing are unavoidably shifting. Changing climatic conditions are leading to big unprecedented shift for people who grow, catch and rear for a living, and everyone else who buy and eat what they produce.

Research shows that as temperatures are on the rise, the best growing conditions for many crops are moving away from the tropics, and from lower lying land to cooler climbs. Fish and other underwater catches, too, are migrating to colder seas as their habitats warm.

The eel, lobster and octopus is also in danger. The disappearance of bees is threatening many fruits and vegetables too.

Almond blossoms (used to produce granola), rely entirely on pollination by bees, as well as 90% of orange trees and blueberry crops. Coffee plants are self-pollinating but still need cross-pollination from bees to develop healthy yields.

It is also estimated that up to 90% of pumpkin seeds and raspberries, which can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke would disappear without bees.

Avocados also need bees

Warmer temperatures are also encouraging pests and fungus to develop.

So chocolate is crossing the danger mark, as environmental shifts and fungal disease are threatening cocoa produce in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, pushing up prices by almost 40 percent this year.

The two countries produce more than half the world’s cocoa beans.

Cocoa is (can be—and is) grown outside of Africa; Brazil and Ecuador are ramping up production. Scientists are also at work on a hybrid disease-resistant cocoa plant, the CCN-51. “But the cocoa is not good,” warns chocolatier Jacques Torres.

Coffee farmers are also facing rising threats from pests including berry-borer beetles, while disease epidemics such as leaf rust have hit Central America, and Colombia to the south.

Extreme weather events from floods to droughts have taken their toll. In France, fickle weather has been a disaster for the vineyards of Bordeaux, with spring frosts damaging vines, and summer storms leading to grape rot in Champagne.

The country’s production of wine overall hasn’t been this low in 60 years.

Uttara is a correspondent with Indoasiancommodities. You can write to her on uttara.malhotra@indoasiancommodities.in.

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