Friday, April 5, 2013
Leaf Rust and Food Security
If you work with coffee farming communities, or if you have an avid interest in coffee, by now you have coffee leaf rust, or “la roya,” which has caused significant losses to the coffee harvest in Central America. Reports estimate a loss of 20% of the Central American crop this year due to the fungus, and predict a drop upwards of 40% next year. States of emergency have already been declared in Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica and Nicaragua and El Salvador do not seem far behind.
probably heard about the
GMCR has invested significantly in projects to reduce the window of los meses flacos or “the thin months” of food insecurity. The pervasive opinion in Central America is that the thin months will be longer and more difficult during the next 2-3 years as a result of the coffee rust. GMCR's food security focus predates this roya epidemic; they know their investments are helping build resiliency for shocks in the coffee system like coffee rust. These interventions will become even more important as farmer’s primary livelihood is at risk, and will contribute to alleviating a humanitarian crisis. While much of the coffee industry and producer networks will be focused on renovation as a response to rust, the Sustainability team at GMCR will continue to advocate for enhanced farm plans that include diversified income sources and food production to reduce over reliance on coffee and promote family food security when prices or production are low.
For more information on Coffee Rust and how the industry is reacting visit:
World Coffee Reasearch
Fair Trade USA Rust Response Fund
USAID Report on Coffee Rust and Food Insecurity