The American government is stepping in to help farmers in Central America battle a disease that is devastating coffee crops in several important coffee-producing countries. The disease is a fungus known as "coffee rust," it sounds absolutely terrifying, and it could be enabled by climate change.
What does it do?
Attacks. The roya fungus is taking a toll in places like Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras. In Guatemala, a national emergency has been declared.
First, parts of the arabica bush's glossy green leaves turn a dirty orange. Then dark dead patches appear and become holes. The infection spreads to the ripening berries, turning them from bright red to a zombie-skin grey.
What does it attack?
Your precious coffee. Arabica, the bean that makes up many delicious premium coffees, is particularly susceptible.
What does this mean for me if I am an unreasonable consumer of coffee?
It seems this will either hit your wallet or force you to drink more of those subpar coffee blends that come from Asia. Or both.
Washington estimates that production could be down anywhere from 15 percent to 40 percent in coming years, and that those losses could mean as many as 500,000 people could lose their jobs. Though some countries have brought the fungus under control, many of the poorer coffee-producing countries in Latin America don't see the rust problem getting better anytime soon."
What can defeat coffee rust?