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Current Affairs

Rediscovered species of coffee

Date: 21 April 2021 Tags: Climate Change

Issue

Scientists have rediscovered a new wild species of coffee in the tropical jungles of Sierra Leone, which has been found after many years.

 

Background

Coffee production across the globe has been impacted by climate change. This new species has the capacity to secure its future.

 

Details

  • The species has been named Coffea stenophylla and shows greater level of tolerance to higher temperatures than the Arabica coffee.

  • Currently, Arabica coffee forms about 56% of global production and the Robusta coffee makes up 43%.

  • The stenophylla species was farmed in parts of West Africa and exported to Europe but was abandoned after Robusta was introduced and gained popularity.

 

Current threats

  • Farmers growing coffee in the belts of the world are experiencing climate change's negative effects, reducing yields drastically.

  • There are reports of coffee leaf rust disease in Robusta and Arabica species but stenophylla species is observed to have better tolerance.

 

The stenophylla variety

  • Stenophylla tends to grow on the drier, more open areas such as ridges, slopes and rocky areas.

  • The stenophylla's fruit are intense black in colour whereas Arabica and Robusta have red and yellow coloured fruits.

  • They are not found in wild in Sierra Leone after 1954. Ivory Coast also had no wild population since the 1980s.

  • This species is not safe from human interference. The wild species growing region in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast is facing large deforestation.

  • The new species will help in reviving the economy of several tropical countries that provides livelihoods for more than 100 million farmers.