Coffee production in East Africa is facing hard times, with a new study revealing that Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania is home to 15 of 75 species that are threatened with extinction.
Already, Robusta and Arabica, the most popular species of coffee globally, are facing a bleak future.
Tanzania, Africa’s fourth-biggest coffee producer, said output beginning July may drop 23 per cent to 50,000 tonnes because of a drought and lower crop cycle. The Tanzania Coffee Board said the country had experienced a dry season in many growing areas.
The good news, according to Aaron Davis—a botanist from the Royal Botanic Gardens in the UK—is that there are 124 other unknown coffee species that can weather diseases and even climatic changes that have hit Arabica and Robusta hard.
According to the study published in the journal Nature, the 75 are three in five (60 per cent) of all the 124 coffee species.
Mr Davis and his colleagues analysed coffees using criteria from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and listed the 75 of which two come from Kenya and a 12 from Tanzania. Of the 75, 13 are critically endangered while another 40 are vulnerable.