Economy July 12, 2018 | 4:25 pm

Expert warns of perils lurking quality Dominican coffee

Leaf rust

Santo Domingo.- The supply of high quality coffee is severely threatened by climate change, blights, pressure on land resources and labor shortage for harvest and other work.

Nonetheless the demand for that type of coffee increases every year, according to Amadeo Escarramán, Dominican Republic coordinator of the Central American Integrated Management Program of the coffee berry borer (Procagica RD). The project executed by the Inter-American Agriculture Cooperation Institute (IICA) receives funds from the European Union.

Since 2010, local coffee production has decreased mainly due to the coffee leaf rust epidemic, with losses just over 35,000 metric tons in 2011 to near 15,000 in 2015.

The result was coffee imports which depressed the standard of living in the production areas, with the ensuing migration to the cities.

In the Dominican Republic it’s estimated that more than 60% of the coffee consumed is imported.

Escarramán warned that coffee plants are very sensitive to climate change, “because plantations of that crop have a lifecycle of around 30 years, so the likely future effects of climate are a concern.”

“If the rains diminish or are too strong, both the coffee flowers and the fruits can fall from the plant. If the flowering and ripening cycles are erratic, additional harvest cycles would be necessary, which would increase costs. It is estimated that for every degree Celsius that the temperature increases, the yield decreases 15%,” the expert added.

 

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