Why most of the coffee production is limited within the tropical zone around the world. Explain while giving an account of the main coffee producing areas worldwide.
Coffee thrives best in areas of warm climate where the temperatures range between 20° and 27°C and the amount of rainfall ranges between 125 and 250 cm. Although rainfall should be well distributed over the year, a relative dry weather during the flowering season is more beneficial. The annual range of temperature should be low. Areas with cold winters are not suitable for coffee cultivation. It is one of the reasons that coffee is generally not grown outside the tropical zone. A summer concentration of rainfall is beneficial for coffee.
Major Plantation Regions for coffee
- Brazil: Besides cheap labour, Brazil has had a number of geographical advantages viz. highlands that are gently rolling with occasional pronounced escarpments. The rolling topography offers good drainage.
- Caribbean Countries– About one-third of the coffee entering the world trade comes from the highlands in the countries bordering the Caribbean Sea. Coffee growing areas in this region extend from southern Colombia, very close to the equator, to Cuba and Mexico, near the margins of the tropical region. Mountain slopes or the piedmont plains lying between 300 and 2000 metres above sea level provide near ideal conditions for coffee cultivation.
- Southeast Asia- Tropical Southeast Asia is also an important coffee-producing region. Before emergence of Brazil as the coffee giant of the world, south Asia accounted for bulk of the world coffee production. India produces coffee in the southern states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Most of the coffee production of Sri Lanka comes from the highland regions.
- East African Highlands– The fourth major region of coffee cultivation lies in the East African highlands. Altogether, East and West Africa contribute about 20 per cent of the coffee entering the international trade. The important producers of coffee in this continent include Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Angola and Ghana.