“Coffee rust causes state of emergency in Central America”

"coffee-rust"Source: The Globe and Mail
“coffee-rust”
Source: The Globe and Mail

According to a report by the Pravda.ru website, “Nearly 70 percent of coffee fields in Guatemala are affected by fungal infection called coffee rust.

This article, published yesterday stated that the President of the Guatamalan Republic Otto Perez Molina has called a state of emergency, due to the coffee rust.  The cause of this rust is unknown. Here’s more from the Pravda.Ru article:

“Central America has long been sounding alarm in relation to coffee plants’ disease. Guatemala is the third country that declared a state of emergency due to the massive nature of coffee rust disease. Earlier, the emergency situation was introduced in Honduras and Costa Rica. Coffee is the main export item for the most countries in Central America. The majority of the countries located in this part of the world are agricultural, and coffee is the main crop. Nearly half of the total working population of Guatemala is employed in agriculture. The state budget will allocate $14 million to fight coffee rust. For Guatemala, whose GDP is about $47 billion, it is a very large sum. The funds will be used to purchase pesticides.”

“Coffee rust is a serious threat to agriculture. Rust pustules appear on the leaves of infected plants and gradually take over the entire leaf surface. This leads to premature drying up of the leaves and serious weakening of the trees. Such trees are affected by numerous secondary pests and eventually almost certainly die. The affected plants still produce coffee for some time, but no more than 10-20 per cent of normal crop. The most efficient, according to experts (and practically the only) method for controlling the disease, is cutting down plantations. The success of using pesticides planned by the Guatemalan authorities causes doubts. Currently, there are no types of coffee that are not affected by the rust.”

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