Climate change is forcing Costa Rican farmers to stop growing coffee and switch to cultivating oranges, a crop better suited to warmer temperatures. Since the 1800s, coffee has been one of the most important sources of income for Costa Ricans but, as competition rises in the coffee industry and price tags decrease significantly, farmers are finding it harder to sustain production. The country is experiencing more frequent and intense droughts, floods, and storms, all of which impact coffee plantations.
Orange production in Costa Rica began 25 years ago when a local coffee cooperative gave orange tree seedlings to local farmers in hopes of providing some relief after a scarce harvest. Shortly thereafter, the National Institute of Learning taught local farmers how to efficiently grow oranges. Since then, coffee harvests have declined by about half and orange production has grown in the northern region of the country. Farmers have benefited from higher sale prices and lower production costs of oranges, but it is unclear how long the orange will be viable in the region or if production will shift again, as the climate continues to change 🍊🇨🇷