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Coffee or rice: Which one of your favourite foods are at risk of extinction?

Jun 04, 2021 17:10 IST | By Vishakha Somani

Relish that cup of coffee or banana smoothie while you can, because it seems like some of the world’s most beloved foods might soon disappear forever, courtesy of climate change!  

Climate change attacking your grocery list sounds a little dramatic but thanks to global heating and natural or man-made disasters, this may very well be our reality. Extreme weather conditions including drought, floods, wildfires and heatwaves, are all threatening our favourite crops and making agriculture difficult in many parts of the world, including India. 

Global warming is making the Earth’s environment inhospitable not just for humans but even the food they eat. Unfortunately, the foods that are most endangered by rising temperatures are also among the most popular. Let’s take a look at some of these foods that could go extinct due to the impact of climate change on our planet.

CHICKPEAS  

Chickpea or chhole, an important legume crop consumed widely, faces a major threat from drought and rising heat. As the crop requires a lot of water for production, rampant droughts have shrunk production by 40-50 per cent and scientists are actually trying to develop climate-resilient chickpeas!

BANANAS  

The world’s most convenient fruit, bananas need moderate weather and a consistent water supply for healthy production. Additionally, a tropical disease that is jumping continents also threatens to wipe out banana plantations across the globe.   

COFFEE  

Guzzled by caffeine lovers around the world, coffee could be another victim of rising heat levels. Both the regions where coffee is grown and the bees that help its growth are threatened by ecological disruption. In fact, 88 per cent of Latin America's coffee-suitable areas could deplete by 2050.  

SEAFOOD 

The carbon dioxide released by humans and human-related activities is absorbed by our vast oceans. An imbalance in CO2 rise is messing up marine chemistry and this could have a far-reaching impact on seafood. As the quality of seafood deteriorates, seafood-borne diseases are already increasing.  

SOYBEANS  

Could tofu, edamame, miso, and tempeh become a thing of the past? A 2017 crop study found that if the world’s emissions are not significantly reduced, soybean crops could diminish by 40 per cent by 2100. Apart from food, soybeans are also a source of biofuels giving them global economic importance as well.  

WHEAT, MAIZE & RICE  

In a grim revelation, a 2016 study of crops of vital dietary importance found that the production of wheat, maize, and rice is also in danger. Regions, where the crops are currently grown, could become obsolete, due to oscillating temperatures and unpredictable weather while the demand is projected to increase 33 per cent by 2050. 

CHOCOLATE  

Some bitter news about your favourite sweet treat, cocoa beans that are used to produce chocolate can only grow if a certain set of conditional requirements are met. A limited area of potential growth, fluctuation in humidity and lack of nutrient-rich soil all threaten chocolate’s future.  

Evidently, protecting the environment should be the world’s top priority as it's slowly beginning to feel like whatever we do will be too little, too late. 

Coffee or rice: Which one of your favourite foods are at risk of extinction?

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