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.