Blog

Distribution of Coffee Rust (Infographics)

world_countries_coffee rust

Coffee is the most important agricultural product in agricultural trade. There are different types of coffee plant diseases, but by far, coffee rust is the most economically important int the world. It was the main reason why countries like El Salvador lost 50% of their job opportunities in the coffee sector in 2011.

In Central America, 70% of its total coffee fields was affected by coffee rust. This led to devastating results like reduced yields, massive economic damage, loss of about 500,000 coffee-related jobs, and about $1 billion in revenue.

Coffee Rust Timeline:

1861 – The signs of coffee rust was seen in Ethiopia, the origin of coffea Arabica. By then, they didn’t know about the disease yet and didn’t have a name for it.

1867 – Coffee rust was seen in Sri Lanka.

1888 – The epidemic started in neighboring Asian countries like Brunei and Malaysia.

1892 – The disease reached Papua New Guinea.

1904 – 1906 – Coffee rust fungi also reached Madagascar and spread the outbreak on its coffee fields.

1910 – The outbreak reached Congo Republic, Angola, Zambia, and other neighboring countries.

1913 – It reached the African continent.

1945 – The disease went back to Asia and affected India, Thailand, and Bangladesh.

1951 – 66 – The devastating results of the coffee rust disease were suffered by the rest of the African continent.

1972 – The first appearance of the coffee rust disease was recorded in Brazil.

1976 – It affected other European countries like Honduras, Guatamela, Ecuador, and Colombia. These countries aren’t that big, but coffee is one of their main products.

1978 -83 – The disease reached Peru.

1979 -81 – The coffee rust disease affected the coffee plants in Mexico.

The spread of this fungal disease didn’t stop there. In 2011, the prices of coffea Arabica dropped massively because of the disease.

 

How to Avoid Food Borne Diseases

No matter how we choose the food we eat, it’s still possible to get foodborne diseases. It’s important to be keen in our food preparations, but what’s even more important is to be smarter and always keep ourselves informed.

What is a foodborne disease?

According to Wikipedia, a foodborne disease is any illness resulting from the food spoilage of contaminated food, pathogenic bacteria, viruses, or parasites that contaminate food,[2] as well as chemical or natural toxins such as poisonous mushrooms and various species of beans that have not been boiled for at least 10 minutes.

Symptoms vary depending on the cause or type of the disease but mostly, a person may experience nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and dizziness.

How can we avoid these diseases?

In order to avoid foodborne diseases, you need to make sure that you handle your food properly.

For Consumers:

  1. Wash your produce
  • Soak your fruits and vegetables for 5 minutes before preparation.
  • Add a little vinegar when soaking green leafies.
  • Wash the skin of the fruit. If possible, don’t eat the skin.
  1. Cut off at least an inch at the end of hard vegetables like carrots.
  2. For meat, fish, and other shellfish, wash them well with water. Clean it up when you’re done with the preparations.

For Farms and Agricultural Companies:

  1. High-quality post-harvest management
  • Clean up after harvesting.
  • Only use disinfectants that are only approved by the NOA (depending on the category)
  1. Provide a safe and hygienic workplace and ensure proper food handling.

 

 

Coffee Rust: What You Need To Know About It

Coffee Leaf Rust or CLR is a devastating disease that affects susceptible coffee plantations. It’s brought by a Pucciniales fungus called Hemileia vastatrix. In order to survive, the rust must come into physical contact with coffee, its obligate host.

It’s called coffee leaf rust because it looks yellow-orange and powdery. It also appears on the leaves’ underside. Young lesions usually appear pale yellow while older lesions are smaller in diameter.

Coffee Rust Life Cycle

The life of the Hemileia fungus starts with the germination of the uredospores. They mainly attack the leaves, but can also be found on fruits and young stems. Then, Appressoria are produced. They produce vesicles to enter the substomatal cavity of the leaves. After a day or two, infection is completed.

When an infection has been successful, the leaf blade colonization and sporulation will happen through the stomata. A lesion can produce 4 to 6 spore crops. After 3 to 5 months, they will release about 300,000 to 400,000 spores. Thus, spread the infection widely.

Coffee Leaf Rust Ecology and History

Coffee Rust destroyed the flourishing Sri Lanka and Java coffee plantations in the 1800s.

This epidemic disease was finally discovered in 1970. During then, it was widespread in Brazil and it was the first known infection in the Western Hemisphere.

In 1989, the coffee rust disease reached Costa Rica and in 1995, it hit Nicaragua.

The 2012 Coffee Rust Epidemic

Researchers were still looking for the solution for this problem when an epidemic hit ten Latin American and Caribbean countries in 2012. The disease became an epidemic and the resulting crop losses pushed coffee prices to an all-time high amid concerns for supply. The reasons for the epidemic remain unclear but an emergency rust summit meeting in Guatemala in April 2013 compiled a long list of shortcomings. These included a lack of resources to control the rust, the dismissal of early warning signs, ineffective fungicide application techniques, lack of training, poor infrastructure and conflicting advice.

 

 

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemileia_vastatrix
http://www.nature.com/news/coffee-rust-regains-foothold-1.12320
http://www.britannica.com/science/coffee-rust

50% Decrease of Coffee Production by 2050 – 2016 Study

With more than 2.25 billion cups of coffee being consumed on a daily basis, there’s no doubt that the coffee industry is at its finest. In fact, the industry is worth 19 Billion dollars worldwide.

However, a recent study called A Brewing Storm showed that the coffee production could drop by 50 percent in a few decades if we don’t take the necessary actions. The study shows that climate change would result to supply shortage and thus, price increase.

“We’re fearful that by 2050, we might see as much as a 50 per cent decline in productivity and production of coffee around the world, which is not so good,” said Molly Harriss Olson, the chief executive of Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand, which commissioned the report.

Read more about it here.

The coffee industry has to be prepared for the possibilities of losing half of its potential in the coming years. Though we can’t really control the climate change, they need to figure out a way to continue meeting the demand.

Guatemalan Coffee Growers Still Suffer from La Roya

Guatemala is one of the countries in Central America affected by the coffee rust disease. In fact, the country declared coffee rust a national emergency in 2013. The coffee production was massively decreased from 2,500,000 lbs of coffee in 2012 to 1,000,000 lbs by the end of 2013.

The coffee rust epidemic has been a major issue not only in Guatemala but in all affected countries. Millions of farmers already lost their jobs and spent a lot of money in pesticides hoping to minimize the effects of the disease.

Guatemalan based organizations like the Coffee Trust are working with small-scale farmers to improve their livelihood. They also need help in establishing food sovereignty in the region that has been solely dependent upon coffee, their cash crop.

Recently, $onov CEO Jean Ekobo visited Guatemala to have a meeting with the chemical distributors in the country and to let them know about CR-10 and what it can do to help eliminating coffee rust.

He shared his experience in Guatemala in our Twitter account. See his images below:

CentroAmericano and Other New Coffee Varieties: Can They Save Coffee?

With the different factors that affect the growth all over the world, scientists are now looking for ways to save the crop. Recently, Centroamericano and seven other new hybrid coffee varieties are slowly being introduced to the market.

They might not be a popular coffee variety yet, like the ones people normally order at their favorite coffee shops, but these kinds are the coolest.

Centroamericano can withstand the effects of climate change, which is one of the most common factors why coffee crops die. See, coffee requires specific temperatures to flourish.

Doug Welsh, vice president of Peet’s coffee, a company which has invested in the World Coffee Research, said that coffee is still not ready to adapt to climate change without help.

The WCR kicked off with 46 new coffee varieties that will soon change the coffee growing game.

More information here:

Pesticide Exposure: What’s the risk?

Pesticides are indeed pest killers. But do you know that it can also cause health issues for you, too?

Pesticides can harm people in so many ways – most of which, we don’t even realize. Farmers who use pesticides are at risk of dermal and respiratory exposure. On the other hand, consumers are at possible risk of oral exposure if the produce was overly exposed or not washed properly.

Dermal Exposure
– It results when the pesticide was absorbed by your skin or eyes after contact. Absorption will continue until the chemical is on your skin or eyes.

You should know that the pesticide residues can be transferred easily from one body part to another. Thus, the applicator increases the potential of pesticide poisoning.

Respiratory Exposure
– Respiratory exposure is one of the most critical because pesticide particles can be absorbed by the lungs directly into your bloodstream. If you inhaled sufficient amount of pesticides, it can instantly cause serious damage to your nose, throat, and lung tissues.

– Lungs can be exposed to pesticides by airborne droplets, inhalation of powders, or vapor inhalation. Handling concentrated wettable powders can pose a hazard if inhaled during mixing.

Oral Exposure
– The risk of oral exposure to pesticides is high. It can result in severe injury and serious illness. In fact, it can even cause death if swallowed.

– It’s common to have accidental oral exposures as well. This happens when pesticides have been removed to their original, labeled bottles and moved into a jar or food container.

– 50% of accidental oral exposure victims in the United States are under 10 years old.

A Recent Study Shows That Coffee Rust Isn’t Caused By Climate Change After All

Recently, a group of scientists conducting researches and studies about coffee rust found out something that can possibly help all coffee producers all over the world. The researchers from the University of Exeter discovered that climate change is not the main cause of the devastating coffee rust disease.

Throughout these years, we all thought that this epidemic coffee disease is caused by the changes in our weather. Apparently, this new study shows signs that weather isn’t the main cause of coffee rust.

Published in the Philosophical Transactions B, the paper states: “We find no evidence for an overall trend in disease risk in coffee-growing regions of Colombia from 1990 to 2015, therefore, while weather conditions were more conducive to disease outbreaks from 2008 to 2011, we reject the climate change hypothesis.” Read More here. 

Upon examining the coffee rust disease in Colombia from 2008 to 2011, researchers concluded that the coffee rust disease can be caused by multiple factors like the rise and fall of the fertilizer price, and the frequent weather changes.

This recent discovery is both good news and bad news to all coffee producers all over the world.

It’s good news because since the epidemic is not solely caused by weather changes, we can still find more ways to get rid of this problem.

On the other hand, this discovery is also bad news because it means that we need to start all over again and it requires more in-depth research to know how we can fully get rid of this epidemic.

Fighting Coffee Rust: How Small Farmers and Organizations Deal With This Problem

Coffee rust is one of the most leading problems in the coffee industry all over the world. Affected countries struggle in looking for ways to eliminate this devastating problem.

In fact, coffee rust highly affects a country’s industry especially those that mainly depend on their coffee industry. With that being said, the government and huge companies spend millions of dollars to get rid of this problem. In fact, thousands of farmers lose their jobs because of this.

If the government itself and some huge companies are already having a hard time, how much more for those small coffee producers?

Small farmers depend on their coffee crops for their living. So, when signs of coffee rust start to show, they know that they need to find a way to contain this epidemic.

Aside from the government’s continued support, small farmers also get help from co-op organizations. These organizations support the farmers by providing them financial assistance and helping them in looking for solutions.

Oikocredit is a cooperative itself, headquartered in the Netherlands but operating across the world with a focus on social impact investing and capacity building in low-income countries.

It provides loans and equity to mid-stage, revenue-generating cooperatives, fair trade organisations and small-to-medium- sized enterprises operating in financial inclusion, agriculture and renewable energy sectors in Africa, Asia, Latin America and cental and eastern Europe.

Learn more about it here.

Newly developed ‘Trojan horse’ molecule might help in fighting crop fungus linked to cancer

A few months ago, researchers from the University of Arizona said that they were able to develop a new method to neutralize a dangerous toxin caused by fungi, that can lead to childhood stunting, cancer, and other health problems. These researchers made a genetically modified, edible maize plant, even when infected with a mold that produces a carcinogenic substance called aflatoxin. ROME – Scientists said on Friday they had developed a new method to neutralize a dangerous fungal toxin affecting crops that can lead to cancer, childhood

Every year, more than 16,000 tons of maize are being thrown because of aflatoxin contamination. In most developed countries, they are able to screen their crops. However, some small farmers do not have the technology to do so. Therefore, people are consuming unknown levels of these dangerous toxins.

This latest research found out that a Trojan Horse molecule can jump onto the fungus and shuts down its aflatoxin production.

In a study published in the journal Science Advances, Schmidt and her team said they had created a genetically engineered maize plant, which produces a “Trojan horse” molecule that jumps onto the fungus and shuts down its aflatoxin production.

Schmidt said the method should be transferable to other crops prone to aflatoxin contamination, like rice, soy and peanuts, as it exploits a naturally occurring biological mechanism known as RNA interference.

For more information, visit this site.

Though the modified corns shouldn’t have side effects, it’s still important to get some testings done.