Coffee Fungus Prompts State of Emergency In Guatemala


GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala — Guatemala is the latest country in South America to declare a state of emergency following the spread of coffee rust, a fungus that is affecting 70 per cent of the country’s coffee crop.

President Otto Molina Perez has ordered the release of more than $14 million to aid coffee growers.

“We have planted 667,000 acres (270,000 hectares) of coffee and of that 477,000 acres (193,000 hectares) have rust, affecting 70 per cent of the total,” Nils Leporowsky, president of the National Coffee Association of Guatemala, is quoted as saying by the Huffington Post.

The disease is affecting coffee farmers in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica. Honduras and Costa Rica declared national emergencies last month.

Coffee rust or fungus affects plants by withering their leaves, whereby the plants lose their foliage and are unable to breath, eventually dying.

Although this news could increase the global market price for coffee, affecting foodservice operators in Canada, the International Coffee Organization has reported that Brazil’s reports of record off-year crop for 2013/2014 may temper the situation.

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