The biggest coffee crisis of our time

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The biggest coffee crisis of our time

Post  kelee877 on Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:08 pm

'The biggest coffee crisis of our time': Outbreak of rust fungus threatens to wipe out Latin America's entire crop

Coffee leaf rust is an orange-powdery fungus that slashes the plant’s yield

It causes defoliation, or loss of leaves, and affects 70% of farms in Latin America

Scientists say it's evolved to thwart resistant varieties of crops in recent years

A poorly-understood fungus is ravaging Latin America’s coffee crops, causing billions of dollars in damages and potentially putting the global coffee supply at risk.

The disease, known as coffee leaf rust, is an orange-powdery fungus that slashes the plant’s yield, in some cases destroying the entire crop for years.

This same fungus is responsible for the crash of Sri Lanka’s (then called Ceylon) coffee industry in the late 1800s, according to NPR.

Despite efforts in the 1970s to manage the disease and produce rust-resistant coffee varieties in Latin America, experts now warn the fungus is evolving.

‘We are in the middle of the biggest coffee crisis of our time,’ Guatemalan producer and exporter Josué Morales, told NPR.

Coffee leaf rust (Hemileia vastatrix), also known simply as coffee rust, causes defoliation – or the loss of the plant’s leaves.

In Central America, 70 percent of farms have been hit by the disease, resulting in $3.2 billion in damage and lost wages, according to Purdue University.

Arabica, which makes up about 75 percent of the global coffee production, is especially susceptible to the pathogen.

And, scientists still don’t know all that much about it.

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kelee877
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