THUNDER BAY – Coffee Leaf Rust has hammered the Central American coffee crop. Coffee is a daily ritual for millions around the world. Next to oil, coffee is the most traded commodity on the planet. World Coffee Research has just wrapped up a summit meeting to seek solutions for Coffee Leaf Rust.
The coffee leaf rust disease has devastated Central American coffee production this year affecting the livelihoods of over two million people and causing a loss of nearly 500,000 jobs. Guatemala and other countries have declared a national state of emergency. Total coffee loss for the region is predicted at 20-30 percent and could increase to near 50 percent next year unless a focused, coordinated strategy is put into place soon.
Those losses are likely to be reflected in the price of your morning cup of coffee. Reduced supply means increased price pressure.
The International Summit brings together worldwide coffee and rust scientists, representatives from coffee institutes and associations, certifying organizations, agro-chemical companies, coffee exporters and roasters, donor and financial institutions to discuss the implications and viable solutions to the coffee rust crisis that plagues Central America.
The executive director of World Coffee Research, Dr. Timothy Shilling says, “The major goal of this summit is to get a nimble and strong action plan together and start getting it implemented so that next year, more farmers won’t have to worry about losing their farms and livelihoods because of this disease. In order to do that, we’re bringing together the best scientific expertise on coffee rust to work with Central American governments and the key value chain segments to determine strategies and best practices to prevent and control future rust epidemics in the short, medium and long terms. We’ll also want to devise collective strategies for mitigating negative economic impacts and supporting coffee-dependent communities to cope and recover from this year’s disaster. “
If the problem continues, or expands past Central America, the price of a morning coffee could jump.