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Coffee Leaf Rust: Some Facts About Coffee’s Worst Enemy

Coffee leaf rust or Roya in Spanish, has been devastating susceptible coffee farms all
over the world. It is an airborne fungal disease caused by Hemileia vastatrix. It survives
particularly on the leaves of the coffee plant. They are transported in water, rain or air,
in the form of tiny spores. They can survive long distances explaining why they can
spread to an entire field.

When leaves are attacked, the plant won’t be able to photosynthesize which is vital for
its growth. These affected coffee plants therefore won’t be able to yield enough coffee
beans.

It is easy to spot coffee leaf rust when it strikes as pale, yellow spots can be found on
the upper surfaces of the leaves. When these spots increase in diameter, there can be
orange uredospores that appear underneath.

Unlike other rusts which break through the epidermis, these fungi targets the stomata.

There will be powdery lesions in yellowish orange color concentrated on any part of the
leaves. These infected leaves will then drop prematurely.

We have gathered here some facts on coffee leaf rust that you may want to know.

 In 1830, there was a coffee leaf rust epidemic that destroyed the coffee industry
in Ceylon.

 In 2012, a coffee leaf rust epidemic struck Central American crops causing a
billion dollar damage in just 2 years! According to IHCAFE, over 30,000 coffee
plots were affected by leaf rust infections.

 Coffee leaf rust has devastated an area in South America equivalent to the entire
size of Europe which is a whopping 10 million square kilometers. In 2013,
Guatemala grew 40 percent less coffee because of coffee leaf rust.

 The Colombian government spent over 1 billion dollars to combat this disease
as it devastated its primary coffee crop which is the Arabica Coffee.

 It has become too severe that farmers need to decide whether to feed their
families or invest in the ways to mitigate La roya.

 Despite national efforts, as of April 2017, according to IHCAFE, the incidence
level of rust in Honduras was only 6 percent below the level of economic
damage.

The Dangers in Using Synthetic Fungicides

Fungicides, along with herbicides and insecticides, are all pesticides used in plant
protection. These fungicides are used to kill fungal pathogens on plants. According to
the American Phytopathological Society, fungi is the leading cause of crop loss
worldwide.

Fungicides can serve many purposes.

 Control plant diseases during the establishment and development of a crop

 Increase productivity of a crop while reducing blemishes.

 Improve shelf life and quality of harvested plants and produce.

However, take note that some fungicides can also pose dangerous risks. Follow this list
and learn what to risk when choosing synthetic fungicides.

1. When these fungicides are used to plants for a long time, fungi species tend to
develop resistance to its chemical composition. This means that using fungicide
can no longer be effective no matter how much we apply on plants targeting
these fungi.

2. Some fungicides cause a toxic effect called phytotoxicity among plants. There
are specific synthetic fungicide for every produce. If not handled carefully, they
could potentially kill plants.

3. Fungicides can also pose dangerous risks to human health. Some fungicides can
irritate skin and eyes while others cause respiratory problems.

4. Synthetic fungicide has a huge impact to the environment. These products are
toxic for aquatic animals when the chemicals run-off the fields. They also pollute
the ground and water.

So what are the alternatives?

The safer alternatives to these synthetic fungicides are organic fungicides. It is best
to find a highly effective fungicide that is also organic.

We at Bionovelus are all proud of our very own amazing product, the CR-10. It is a
non-toxic, organic and healthier solution to combat fungi, bacteria and all plant
diseases. Moreover, CR-10 is developed from a protein found in plants making it
impossible for fungi to develop resistance to it.

We constantly work with farmers to understand their needs. We continually work for
solutions in order to combat the world’s high crop production losses.

Here are Some Insights on Postharvest Losses

Did you know that a third of all produced food for human consumption is lost or wasted?

It is for that reason why it is important even for the smallholder farmers to be
knowledgeable of the necessary steps and latest postharvest products and technologies
to prevent losing large portions of their produce.

We at Bionovelus are proud of our product, the CR-10. It is organic non-toxic, and
biodegradable. It targets microbial cell without harming produce or people because it is
developed from a protein found in the immune system of the plants. CR-10 works with
nature to protect plants from harmful microorganism.

Unlike with other products, bacteria and fungi cannot develop resistance to CR-10. By
using this, packers and exporters don’t need to use more products to protect their
produce all the time. They can reduce waste, extend shelf life and expand to new
markets with this powerful solution.

Keep reading and learn more about some facts you may not know about postharvest
losses.

 According to FAO, a whopping 1.3 billion tons of food produced for human
consumption is lost or wasted worldwide every year.

Fruits and vegetables make most of this wastage. In Sub-Saharan Africa, a third
of their total produce are lost after harvest. These crops can be easily damaged
or spoiled while being harvested, packed, stored and transported.

 Proper training and access to postharvest products and technologies have
a huge impact on the safety of food for consumption.

It is common for farmers to get the damaged produce for their consumption
because the high quality ones can be sold at a higher price. If they have access
to trainings and technologies that improve postharvest handling, they can get
more aware of the risks of consuming damaged produce.

 Improving the postharvest handling practices will allow farmers to gain
more profit.

Farmers are able to export more food for consumption while gaining more profit.

This is a win-win solution for both the farmers and the consumers. This has a
positive impact to the economy as well.

Get to Know More about the Coffee Plant

Enjoying your cup of coffee? It’s all thanks to the healthy coffee plants cultivated by all
the hardworking coffee farmers worldwide. They know very well to take care of our
precious coffee plants. They use excellent products like CR-10 to protect and produce
more coffee beans so you’ll get to drink it right now.

You know very well that the aromatic brown beverage you are sipping right now comes
from beans but do you even know what kind of beans are they or where do they come
from? Keep on reading to learn more.

Coffee beans are the seeds of the coffee plant. The coffee plant is a woody perennial
evergreen dicotyledon belonging to the Rubiaceae family. They can grow very high, so
it can be more accurate to call them coffee trees.

The plant produces white flowers and red berries that contain seeds or what we call
the “coffee beans” from which the beverage is made. Each berry usually has two
seeds. These seeds are extracted from the harvested berries and then roasted to
produce the coffee beverage.

Although there are some 25 species within the Coffea genus, there are actually two
main species coffee that are popular today. One is the Coffea Arabica or the Arabica
coffee which accounts for almost 80 percent of the entire production of coffee around
the world.

The other one is the coffea canephora or the Robusta coffee. It covers almost the
remaining 20 percent of the world’s production of coffee.

If you are to compare one from the other, Robusta coffee beans are more robust than
Arabica coffee. Robusta coffee beans however produce inferior tasting coffee with
higher content of caffeine. In case you didn’t know, these beans are the ones used in
the traditional Italian espresso blends.

On the other hand, Arabica beans are generally considered to produce higher quality
and better tasting coffee. Gourmet coffees are mostly made from Arabica beans.

You now have a little more knowledge about the coffee beans and the coffee plant.
Enjoy your coffee!

Why Coffee Farmers are Real Heroes

Next to water, coffee is the most popular drink all over the world with over 10 million
tons of coffee every year. According to the International Coffee Organization (ICO), it is
the world’s most widely traded tropical agricultural commodity. Statistics show that there
around 70 countries that produce coffee.

Majority of coffee production comes from small coffee farmers. In a world where
population is increasing in a fast pace that many people are facing good quality food
supply crisis, these farmers play a truly vital role.

World coffee consumption trends are continually rising over the years according to the
data from ICO. If this continues, the production must also adapt. Resources,
technologies and products for better coffee production should be made available to
farmers to improve coffee production.

In the coffee production, there are several challenges:

 Pests, diseases and fungi

These are real threats to many coffee producers. La roya or coffee leaf rust is
one of the most devastating disease that affects coffee plantations worldwide.
This is brought by a fungus called Hemileia vastatrix that feeds on coffee leaves
in order to survive.

 Climate change

One inevitable challenge is the changes in the environment. Farmers have to
face this however. They need to increase their production during harvest season
to cover the costs that they have spent throughout the year.

 Shortage on Manpower

Coffee pickers and farmers are getting hard to find. Coffee needs to be picked
when they are ripe enough. It would be impossible to have enough coffee if we
don’t have enough workers.

Coffee farmers are indeed important in the coffee industry. They are key to the
continuity of coffee production. Without them, drinking coffee could turn into an
expensive luxury. It is important therefore that farmers get the access to all the
information, researches and products so that they could effectively reduce production
costs, increase crop yield and income.

Steps to Prevent Agricultural Pests and Diseases

The number one concern in growing crops is the maintenance of pests and diseases.

This is the reason why crop protection methods are continuously evolving over time. On
the other hand, there are practices that you can do that will significantly prevent the
build-up of pests and diseases.

Continue reading for some steps in preventing pests and diseases among your plants.

 Clear your garden.

Don’t leave decaying vegetation or plant debris lying around your garden or field.

This provides the perfect place for plant pests and diseases to thrive in. Also,
after harvest or during transitions between growing seasons, make sure to clear
your field of any unwanted debris. You may want to have proper composting
environment placed nearby.

 Make sure that all your tools and containers are properly disinfected.

Plant disease can be highly contagious from plant to plant. Using the same tools,
containers and even human hands can transfer disease-carrying organisms from
a sick plant to a healthy plant. To avoid this from happening, you need to be
careful in cleaning and disinfecting everything that you use when handling plants.

 Watch out for infested plants.

If you have spotted infested plants in the lot, be keen in treating them as well as
the plants near them. You may want to isolate the infested plants while being
treated. Assess the condition of these sick plants. If needed, these plants should
be removed rather than risk the other healthy plants to be infested as well.

 Apply crop protection products.

There are so many products in the market that can effectively protect your plants.
Make sure to choose the right product for your plants. Be sure to read the labels
to effectively use these products. Many choose safe and effective organic
products for their crops.

The Role of Fungicides in Agriculture

Fungicides are substances that are used to eliminate fungi, fungal spores and infections. In the
market today, there are natural fungicides and chemical fungicides available.

The leading cause of crop damage across the globe are fungal pathogens. These pose serious
risk and damage in agriculture which results to major losses of yield and profits to famers. It can
have a huge impact on the economy since the supply of food is affected as well.

Fungicides are used to manage bacterial and fungal diseases among crops. These diseases
tend to be a common occurrence on plants. To negate its impact on quality and yield of crops,
quality fungicides are used.

The presence of fungi can affect plants in different ways. Therefore, there can be different types
of fungicides depending on the application. There are:

1. Fungicides that control disease during the growth of crops.

2. Fungicides that increase productivity of a crop.

3. Fungicides that improve the storage life and quality of harvested plants and produce.

You can find specific fungicides for each of these applications. However, you can also find a
fungicide that can be applied for all these uses. More farmers are now considering organic or
biofungicides. These are more harmless and more effective in the long run.

In disease management, fungicides also play a vital part. They control a range of diseases
satisfactorily.

These fungicides are applied before a plant disease occurs. Do note that fungicides are not able
to fix a plant disease once it has already infested on the plants. They only protect healthy plants.
The best thing about using fungicides is that it targets specific pathogens. This means the
potential for toxicity among humans and other helpful organisms is reduced.

When used properly and strategically, fungicides can be key to plant disease management and
production of high quality crops and increased yield.

Agricultural Pest Control Methods

Pest control is the management of a certain species that are defined as pest due to its
threats to the health of humans, ecology or the economy.

In agriculture, the main goal of pest control is to protect crops by reducing the levels of
the attacking of pests.

In the protection of crops, there are many different methods to utilize in order to control
and manage plant diseases. Farmers need to implement these methods to ensure the
quality of produce.

1. Biological Pest Control

By using this approach, pests are controlled by using other organisms. This
method depends on predation, parasitism and other natural processes. This
makes use of the idea of introducing the natural enemies of the pests to be
eliminated.

This method is useful and is often used by most farmers. It’s considered to be a
significant component of pest control and management.

2. Chemical Control

This method involves the use of chemical pesticides. These chemical pesticides
are utilized to prevent, repel or destroy pests. There are different types of
pesticides depending on the application.

There are insecticides made for controlling of insects and fungicides which are
used to manage fungal diseases in plants.

It is important to choose the right type and formulation of pesticides. They should
not harm the pests’ natural enemies. Over time, the effectiveness of chemical
pesticides decrease due to organisms becoming immune to them.

3. Plant Quarantine

Another way of controlling pests is by isolating diseased plants from the healthy
ones. The infested plants are either destroyed or kept for treatment or studying.
This prevents the introduction and spread of harmful pests and pathogens.

There are many other ways to protect crops. These are just some of the methods that
are used today. For better results, some may use these methods in combination
depending on the circumstances.

The Benefits of Organic Farming

The usage of chemical products has become the trend in agriculture. The benefits of
these chemical products are so great that any harm it may cause became unnoticeable.

However, because the problems that come along with this conventional farming have
now been exposed, many are now going back into organic farming again.

What are these problems associated to chemical products used in farming?

 Health related diseases (cancerous diseases)

 Environmental issues (Water and land pollution)

 Impact on the welfare of animals

What then is organic farming?

In organic farming, all the process involved are natural ways. All materials used in the
process of farming are made of organic or biological materials. Synthetic materials are
never used in any part of the process. This makes organic farming a healthier choice to
humans, animals and the environment.

Here are some of the most sensible reasons why we should make the switch to organic
farming.

1. Farmers will have reduced exposure to harmful chemicals.

The most affected groups of people by pesticides are the families of farmers.

2. Increased nutrition and reduced chemical contamination for consumers.

Studies show that organic foods have higher amount of nutrients compared to
those products from conventional farming.

3. Children will have less exposure to chemical pesticides.

Since a child’s body is still developing, it can be hard to defend itself from toxic

4. Organic farming builds healthy soil.

If soil is constantly exposed to harmful chemicals, it is more likely that the soil
cannot withstand it. Soil erosion is being reduced as well.

5. Organic farming supports the conservation of healthy water.

Almost everything in this planet is dependent on water. With organic farming, the
conservation of good quality water resources is strengthened.

6. Organic farming supports the welfare of animal health.

Conventional farming has contributed to the loss of habitats of many animals.

This issue can gradually be resolved when organic farming is implemented.
Moreover, animals can safely live nearby agricultural fields.

10 Tips to Prevent Post-Harvest Losses

In the more recent years, one of the major global problems is secured food supply for
the exponentially rising population. Based from FAO’s findings, in order for food to be
enough for the increasing human population, food production needs to grow by 70%.

One of the solutions to this global crisis is to combat post-harvest losses. This post will
brief you on some of the basic harvest handling tips to avoid further losses in the
production of crops.

1. Post-harvest quality planning must be accomplished.

There should be a set of good agricultural practices (GAP) to be developed for
each specific crop. Everything from the land use, water quality, field sanitation,
workers’ dynamics and operations and other factors should be highly considered.

2. Each program that has been pre-planned must be carefully executed and
implemented during harvest.

3. It is best to perform harvest during low-temperature time of the day.

This will ensure low product respiration.

4. Avoid the harvested products to be in direct contact with the sun.

Always keep them cool.

5. Make sure that there is good airflow where the crops are stored.

Poor ventilations speeds up the decaying process.

6. Never let the produce be bruised or crushed.

Careful handling must always be observed.

7. It is not advisable to mix some of the bad crops in a pack of good ones.

This will just spoil the whole bunch.

8. Use only clean and dry containers for transport.

Avoid contamination in the crops.

9. Organic products like CR-10 can be used to protect the quality of the crops
without compromising the health of consumers.

10. High quality cooling systems are good investments in this line of field.

After all, temperature is the single most important factor to consider to maintain post-
harvest quality.