The slender equatorial cacao belt is likely to see higher temperatures and get drier, not a good combination for cacao plants. West Africa has a long dry season that is getting drier, with annual rainfall predicted to decrease up to 30% over the second half of the twentieth century. A severe drought in Bahia, Brazil, during the 2015-2016 growing season led to 15% of the cacao trees dying and almost a 90% decrease in yields. Changes in the global temperature could help some destructive cacao diseases spread to other, previously unaffected areas.
Yields of major staple crops like wheat and rice are being hurt by increasing temperatures. Wine grape production is moving to cooler climes causing changes in the character of some of our favorites. The flavors and health benefits of teas, the size of potatoes, the sting of a hot pepper, where fish call home in the oceans, and a future decline in protein in vegetables—it’s all changing.
Our food database shows the ingredients affected by a changing climate.
To learn what farmers, scientists, and many others are doing to keep the menu stocked, see Stewardship of the Land and Our Changing Menu: Climate Change and the Foods We Love and Need. You have a role, too!
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This food ingredient database is in its early phase and we will strive to expand it on an ongoing basis so that everyone is aware of how climate change is affecting the foods we love and need.