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Exciting Advances in Coffee and Climate Change Research at DAPA

Over the past months the coffee and climate change theme at DAPA has seen some exciting developments towards new cooperations and research opportunities. Coffee production combines the challenges of high vulnerability to climatic variation, a substantial long term investment and a predominantly smallholder structure. Increasingly stakeholders worldwide come to realize the resulting urgency of research and development to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

In June Tim Shilling, Executive Director of the Global Coffee Quality Research Initiative visited the CIAT and DAPA. The GCQRI unites US American specialty coffee companies in an effort to increase high quality coffee production in a pre-competitive fashion. Realizing the threat of global climate change to coffee production research on impacts and adaptation of production is one of the key priorities of the initiative. DAPA put together an impressive presentation that summarizes the broad experience that has been accumulated over the years. As Tim summarized: “GCQRI and CIAT are well aligned for collaborative work in the areas of predictive modeling in climate change, appellation development, technology transfer system development and monitoring and evaluation data base collection and analysis.”

The Coffee and Climate Initiative may be described as the European counterpart of the GCQRI. It is a PPP between the German International Cooperation (GIZ) and several key players of the European coffee industry aimed towards the development of climate change adaptation strategies. DAPA supports the initiative with impact assessments for Guatemala, Tanzania, Vietnam and Brazil to identify impact hotspots and tailor-made adaptation pathways. During a steering committee meeting in July DAPA’s Christian Bunn had the chance to present initial results to nobody less than the CEO’s of the Neumann group and the president of Lavazza Coffee among others. Giving a detailed presentation on the DAPA approach to impact assessments Christian gladly raised awareness for the climate change topic among such important decision makers.

While we expect that these two private initiatives will become increasingly important project partners for DAPA in future cooperations, also our research makes advances. In July DAPA’s Anton Eitzinger and Christian Bunn passed by the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria. This perfect match to strengthen the scientific work of both partners promises to be very fruitful in the coming months. The idea is to combine IIASA’s land use change model Globiom with DAPA’s biophysical impact models to conduct a full integrated impact assessment of climate change on the coffee sector.

A total of three students will be working in this project under the supervision of Peter Läderach. Oriana Ovalle will conduct her master thesis research to explore the use of crop yield models for coffee impact assessments. Christian Bunn is about to start his PhD research on spatial crop models and their integration in market models. Furthermore, we got our hopes up that in the coming months Leonel Lara-Estrada will join our team as a PhD researcher to work on the effects of adaptation strategies.

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