8 foods threatened by climate change

2014-03-06 11:09

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Cape Town – For some people climate change is an abstract thought, something that may or may not happen in the future and  right now it may not affect you.

This is not true according to the Huffington Post. They list 8 foods that will be lost due to climate change by 2050.

The article argues that within the next decades some foods will be harder to come by either because of high cost, decreased supply, lack of arable land and this is all a result of climate change.

Number one on the list is coffee.

Yes the thing that wakes us up in the morning. (Que the gasps) The Arabica bean grows in developing nations where it requires tropical heat in order to grow well. Climate change may affect the bean from growing effectively by allowing a fungus called “coffee rust” to develop.

In 2013 Guatemala called a state of emergency because of an outbreak of coffee rust. A 2011 paper suggested that the Arabica tree in Mexico, Nicaragua and Veracruz will struggle to grow effectively by 2050.

Number two on the list is chocolate.


70% of the world’s cocoa is grown in West Africa where a warm climate is necessary to allow the bean to grow to its full potential. In the coming decades studies predict that Western areas in Africa will experience sharp rises in temperatures that threaten cocoa growth.  

A 2011 report funded by Bill and Melinda Gates predicts that by 2050 Western Africa will be 2.3°C higher.

Number three on the list is peanut butter.

Prices of peanut butter continue to soar even today due to continued droughts on peanut farms according to the Huffington Post.

Peanut butter

A 2009 US study on global change illustrated that peanut farms will either experience too little rainfall or too much rain prior to harvest which could lead to toxic mould. Moreover the study found that this could be a trend that may continue and possible worsen

Number four on the list is .......French wines.

French wine

The effect of climate change on French wines has already come into play. Three decades ago wine makers noticed a difference in harvest as grapes were ripening sooner with more sugar content and less acid.

The French grape’s growth was hampered by droughts and if this continues wine from the prestigious Bordeaux estate may be not existent.

One expert suggests that if the conditions of climate change continue the climate required to create Cabernet and Merlot wines will not be suitable.

Number five on the list is Apple pie, well apple anything.


With increased heat as a result of climate change the chill period before spring needed for apple trees to grow will be warmer and this will undoubtedly affect apple harvests.

Warmer winters mean smaller apple harvests which translates into less apples and increased prices. The tastes of apples are also changing. According to a Japanese study global warming is making the Fuji apples sweeter and softer.

Number six on the list is Craft beers (not a food group ...we know).

Craft beer

Craft brewers face two challenges due to clime change. The first will be securing a reliable water source; the second will be obtaining healthy hops... especially specialty hops needed for special beer types.

Scientist has started to try and breed new types of hops that are more resistant to heat extremes. The most important thing required to grow hops is a cold winter and this is a realty that is changing.

The seven food on the list is fresh fish.

Frsh fish

Fish sizes have been shrinking already according to a 2012 global warming study. The main issue is the oxygen depletion in the ocean because of warmer climates. Less oxygen according to the report means that the fish are likely to be smaller and will drop by 14 to 24% by 2050.

Number eight on the list is bananas.


In Costa Rica banana farmers are already experiencing the effects of a warming climate. Temperature changes and rainfall discrepancies have allowed pests to flourish threatening banana crops to the point that in 2013 the government called a state of emergency.

The pests also make the banana more susceptible to various diseases.

Read more on:    cape town  |  environment  |  climate change

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