The coffee rust epidemic has reached a lot of countries all over the world and has been a major problem and threat to coffee plantations all over the world. The rust organism mainly attacks the leaves (though in some rare instances the rust was found on fruits and young stems.). The coffee rust is usually manifested by chlorotic young lessions or pale yellow spots before the sporulation is evident. The sports vary in shapes and sizes.
This epidemic was first recorded in 1861. A British explorer discovered the development of coffee leaf rust in the Lake Victoria region in Kenya. In 1869, the cultivated coffee industry in Sri Lanka was attacked by this virus and their coffee industry suffered for 10 long years.
In 1920, the spread of the coffee leaf rust has reached most African and Asian countries during the sprout of their commercial grown coffee.
The epidemic in Brazil started in 1972. Soon, it affected the countries in Southern and Central America.
The Effects of Coffee Rust to Coffee Plantations
- The amount of rust in the current year highly affects the reduced size of vegetative growth and berry growth.
- Coffee rust is associated with defoliation. The strong sink of the berries’ carbohydrate can cause shoots and roots to starve and die. With that being said, the number of nodes on which coffee will be produced next year will be reduced.
- The production of coffee for the following year is produced this season. Thus, the top and shoot dieback caused by the coffee rust will seriously reduce the following season’s crop.
- A research conducted by Kushalappa and Eskes in 1989 estimates the total losses caused by leaf rust is between 30 to 80%.
- The total average losses per year is believed to be about 15%.
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.
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.
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:
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:
Eating organic isn’t enough to stay healthy. No matter how much you try to stay away from chemicals, the fact is, they’re everywhere. It’s in your barbecue, your favorite chips, your hamburger, and even on your healthy salad.
Food handling and preparation play a very important role in making sure that what you’re eating is clean and safe. Before eating raw fruits and vegetables, it’s important to wash them properly to get rid of pesticides and any other chemicals.
According to research, petroleum based chemicals used in pesticides, consumer products, and job environments are linked to some health disorders. In fact, they are found to cause accelerated aging to the brain, blood brain barrier, and immune system. It’s also proven that these chemicals can also alter critical hormones that are necessary for teenage behavioral and neurological development.
Illnesses identified in the medical research include adult and child cancers, numerous neurological disorders, immune system weakening, autoimmune disorders, asthma, allergies, infertility, miscarriage, and child behavior disorders including learning disabilities, mental retardation, hyperactivity ADHD (attention deficit disorders) as well as altering hormones essential for maintaining healthy bodily processes. Petroleum based chemicals are believed to cause these problems by a variety of routes including – impairing proper DNA (Gene) expression, weakening DNA Repair, accelerating gene loss, degeneration of the body’s detoxification defenses (liver and kidneys) as well as gradual weakening of the brain’s primary defense (the Blood Brain Barrier).
Know more about the research here.
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.
– 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 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.
– 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.
The devastating effects of the coffee leaf rust epidemic have reached different countries all over Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. Aside from thousands of people losing their jobs, coffee plantations end up losing millions of dollars.
Eliminating the harmful effects of this disease is not impossible. However, it is challenging. Recently, we released CR-10, which is a coffee rust control fungicide. a coffee rust treament… or even better: a coffee rust solution! The active ingredientl is designed to attack the fungi and get rid of the harmful effects of the rust to the coffee leaves.
- The CR-10 works faster compared to other fungicides
Eliminating coffee rust is our main goal. We want to help in saving the coffee plantations and somehow improving the commercial coffee economic status of the affected countries. Upon application, farmers can already see the effect of CR-10 on coffee rust after 48 hours.
- The CR-10 only requires 2 to 3 applications
This fungicide works faster and better. Therefore, it only takes 2 to 3 applications to work. According to our own research, farmers had to do 4 to 12 applications using other products. With the CR-10, you can save money on labor and get better results faster than other fungicides.
- The CR-10 is 100% Safe.
We always do our best to create products that are safe not only for us people but also to animals and to our environment. The CR-10 is 100% safe. It is biodegradable and non-toxic (when used at recommended dilution).
We made sure that our product is people friendly and environment-friendly as well. You have to make sure that you will use it at the level of dilution we recommend.
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.
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.