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California could help threatened coffee crop




A Haitian woman holds cherries from a coffee tree. Haiti's coffee trade was once a flourishing industry, but it has been crippled by decades of deforestation, political chaos and now, climate change.
A Haitian woman holds cherries from a coffee tree. Haiti's coffee trade was once a flourishing industry, but it has been crippled by decades of deforestation, political chaos and now, climate change.
Patrick Farrell /MCT /Landov

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The second most commonly traded commodity in the world - after oil - is coffee.

It's been grown and loved since at least the 13th century in places like Indonesia, Ethiopia and Central and South America.

But as drought and a fungus disease threaten the crop world-wide, scientists are mapping the coffee genome to learn more about this plant - and to see where else it might grow.

And California just might play a bigger role in its future.

NPR reports:

Santa Barbara is a far cry from the tropics, where the world's most respected coffee is grown. But Good Land Organics farm owner Jay Ruskey is an experimental farmer, like a long line of Californians. Since the late 1800s, agricultural explorers have roamed the world and brought back crops that ultimately did succeed here — avocados came from Mexico and Guatemala, dates from Morocco and navel oranges from Brazil.

For the California Report, Lisa Morehouse has more.