Rust Hurting Coffee Crops
Coffee Rust or coffee leaf rust first appeared in Brazil during the 1970′s. Although the rust began in Brazil it has spread like wild fire throughout every coffee growing country in the world. Back in the 1860′s it’s symptoms were first looked at in Sri Lanka. Many countries changed their arabica coffees and replaced it with disease resistant robusta coffee.
So, exactly how does coffee rust spread? Rust has been more aggressive due to climate change. Certainly when temperatures are up the fungus thrives in hot weather too. It attacks the leaves of coffee plants and eventually moves into the cherry fruit by removing the nutrients found in the bean.
The rust disease in coffee is prevented by spraying a copper based fungicides at 3-5 kg/ha at 4-6 week intervals during the rainy season. The many that are effected are pruning back trees hoping that new growth will improve resistance. Today, many are trying to help coffee farmers stay in business by using a means for non-profit charities to resolve the rust.