Eight billion people make for a lot of mouths to feed — a lot of rice, corn, and wheat. Which are the most cultivated and consumed crops around the globe.
For these crops to produce enough food for our growing appetite, it is necessary to always improve their yield, make sure they survive our changing climate and resist pests and diseases.
While you are having French fries for lunch, enjoying your cup of coffee, or shopping for new cotton t-shirts, hardworking agronomists, are constantly testing new plant varieties around the globe to secure tomorrow’s supply of plant-derived products.
You drink it everyday. It’s black. It smells good.
It tastes good too.
A lot of people drink it just like you. They order a “cup of coffee” and drink it quickly before work, or during a break.
Among the millions of people drinking this black fluid, only a few know about the wonderful life of the coffee trees. It’s a story about growing up in luxurious highlands or the slums of the lowlands. It’s the story of finding a good place for a good life.
It is the story of the coffee tree.
If you have ever been in Vietnam or Southeast Asia in general, you have probably noticed how important rice is to people.
In Vietnam, people eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Like corn in Mexico or wheat in Europe, rice is the main source of energy for Vietnamese people.
Planting trees among fields of crops like coffee is not new. Before the green revolution and the global intensification of agricultural systems to feed a growing population intercropping various species of plants was the rule.
Traditional agricultural systems included a lot of plant diversity, for example the Mexican milpa had corn, peas, pumpkin, chili, and other vegetables all planted together. For crops like cacao and coffee, it was common to grow them under various layers of shade trees like timber or fruit trees.
Farmers knew long before agronomists that shade trees could provide physical protection against extreme weathers, high and…
The oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) is a tropical palm from West Africa and is native in eight countries: Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Uganda. The oil palm now grows throughout the tropics in Africa, South and Central America as well as Asia and Oceania. Oil palm thrives under warm temperatures, 25–35 deg. C, and high rainfall, 2000–3000 mm a year.
Its scientific name Elaeis guineensis Jacq. literally means Oil of Guinea. This name indicates its noteworthy feature; ‘elaion’ means oil in Greek. …
Coffee is appreciated by millions of drinkers everyday around the world. Around 25 million farmers grow coffee in 60 tropical countries. Coffee plantation covers about 11 million ha around the world including both arabica and robusta coffee.
Vietnam is the second producers in the world with 700 000 ha of coffee. Vietnam mostly produced robusta coffee which is often processed into food products or medicines. Only 50 000 ha of the coffee area in Vietnam are dedicated to the cultivation of arabica. …
Trading coffee is not an easy job. In a recent trip to Vietnam, I had the chance to meet a coffee trader and visit his wet mill.
First of all, let’s remember that there are two coffee species traded around the world; coffee arabica which is 60% of the traded coffee, and coffee robusta for the other 40%. Coffee arabica is mostly used for drinks while robusta even though it can be drunk as a low-quality coffee, it is more often transformed into medicines and food products.
Stocks of coffee arabica are traded at the New York stock exchange while…
Imagine that you are struggling to find water during the dry season, from October to April. Imagine that every year, the dry season is longer and drier because of climate change. Now, imagine that you cannot move to get water because you are a coffee plant.
A coffee tree does not have many options to get water. It can grow longer roots or lose its leaves to collect or save water. The plant can also regulate its water loss by adjusting the opening of its stomata which are very small holes on its leaves invisible to the naked eye.
A drought is a natural event in certain regions of the world where it is the consequence of the cycles of Earth around the sun.
Earth has an ellipsoidal rotation around the sun. An ellipsoid is not a perfect circle but rather an ellipse, shaped like an egg. Turning around the sun in an ellipsoid fashion, Earth does not receive the same amount of sunlight and energy depending on its position and time of the year. In its revolution around the sun, the Earth does not stand straight but it slightly leans on one side in a 23.5 degrees angle…
SDG Warrior, World Citizen, Capitalist Hippie, Scientist, Polyglot, Storyteller, Writer, Earthling, Tree Hugger, Food Lover, Adoptee & Otaku