Trouble is brewing for the coffee industry | treehugger.com

Oh nooooo!

Leaf rust is devastating Central American farmers, affecting 50 percent of crops, and ruining millions of bags of coffee.

If you made yourself a nice cup of coffee this morning, you likely didn’t stop to wonder about how secure the coffee supply chain is. It’s easy to take coffee for granted, as it’s so readily available. The reality, however, is that the coffee industry in Central America is in turmoil. Coffee growers are experiencing the worst epidemic of coffee leaf rust, or ‘roya,’ that they’ve seen since this disease was first discovered in 1976.

Leaf rust is a fungal pathogen that infects coffee plants and causes them to shed their leaves. This inhibits photosynthesis and the plants die. It also prevents the current season’s berries from ripening and lowers carbohydrate accumulation in roots and shoots, which is where the next season’s berries are supposed to grow. Eventually, rust can kill the entire tree, setting a farmer back by 2 to 6 years, which is how long it takes for a replacement tree to grow harvestable fruit.

Read more here.

 

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