Nicaragua backs climate-change proof coffee
While coffee lovers will rejoice at the higher caffeine content of the disease-resistant Robusta beans, their bitter taste won’t please everyone.
Desperate times call for desperate measures though and, as the Robusta beans are faster and easier to grow, Nicaragua’s Ministry of Agriculture approved increased cultivation of the strain at the end of 2016, as reported by El Nuevo Diario.
According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity, as of 2014, coffee beans accounted for $438 million or 8.1 percent of Nicaragua’s total exports, second only to insulated wire ($728 million, 13 percent).
Major growers in Nicaragua such as the Mercon Group are increasing their production of Robusta coffee beans to maintain overall output levels no matter what the weather may bring.
"Robusta coffee production has proven its profitability through its high productivity, low production costs and high potential," Luis Chamorro, an executive with Mercon Group, said. Chamorro estimates the current season’s production of Robusta at 1,800 tons, or two percent of overall Nicaraguan production.
While there are concerns from local growers that the prestige value of one of Nicaragua’s key exports will be damaged, the government has enforced a 30 km (20 miles) separation between Arabica and Robusta plantations to limit the spread of disease.