Central America is scrambling to contain a coffee-eating fungus that has invaded a third of the impoverished region’s crops, threatening to cost the vital industry hundreds of millions of dollars.
Entire families depend on work from the coffee-growing industry in Central America, which employs more than 1.5 million people to produce one of the world’s most renowned Arabica beans.
But in September, two months before the annual harvest, the fungus known as roya began to spread due to a lack of preventive measures and the effects of climate change, including high temperatures and drought, according to experts, government officials and industry sources.
“The situation is very serious,” Jose Buitrago, president of Nicaragua’s Coffee Exporters Association, told AFP. “It will get worse if measures are not taken.”
The fungus, hemileia vastatrix, discolors and dries up coffee leaves, an effect that also gives roya the name of “leaf rust.”
The parasite has latched on to 35 percent of the 958,000 hectares of sown crops, which will mean a loss of two million coffee bean bags of 46 kilograms (100 pounds) each, industry officials told AFP.
This would represent a loss of $300 million at the current price of $150 per bag, the sources said.
Central American nations exported 17.5 million bags of coffee during the 2011-2012 cycle, bringing $3.6 billion to the region, and growers had hoped to do even better this season. The harvest begins in November and ends in February.
From | phys.org
After 15 years of searching, U.S. and local investigators said to have discovered three groups of an endangered bird species in the forested slopes that surround the fertile and extensive Agalta Valley, east of Honduras. Read More
The project is launching on the occasion of World Environment Day. Martelly and Medina will visit Ouanaminthe, where the two countries have built a seedling production centre with help from Cuba. Read More
The Venezuelan mangroves span over 2,200 square miles, ranking as one of the largest mangrove ecoregions in South America, but that number is shrinking steadily. Read More