FAO in North America

Fungus, Climate Change Threatening Big Part of Global Coffee Supply

Submitted by Amy McMillen on June 3, 2014

Between too much moisture in Central America and too little in Brazil, coffee can’t catch a break.

By Dan Stone, National Geographic

Go to full article.

Guatemalan coffee picker Rosa Diaz works her way around coffee leaves infected with a plague called roya (leaf rust/rouille orangée).

In Guatemala and throughout Central America, coffee infected with a fungus known as rust has reduced yields. Along the Equator where coffee grows best, the problem of yield is widely attributed to more extreme rainfall.

For nearly six years, a fungus that’s commonly known as rust has killed so many coffee trees in Central America that scientists have speculated the region could lose up to 40 percent of its coffee crop.

Now, as researchers scurry to maintain the global coffee supply, there are signs that climate change and wild weather could make the problem even worse.

“We just keep getting report after report at our partner institutions in those countries—these are growers, buyers, importers, and roasters,” says Tim Schilling, director of World Coffee Research at Texas A&M University, describing the problem in places like Panama and El Salvador.

Read on…

Related news: FAO and National Geographic announce collaboration exploring future of food.

The National Geographic Society and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have teamed up to raise awareness on food and agriculture issues as National Geographic embarks on an eight-month, in-depth report on food issues in National Geographic magazine and online at NatGeoFood.com. Among the themes that will be addressed are food and agricultural statistics and trends, feeding megacities in a world of changing demographics, reducing food loss and waste, the role of animal and insect protein in diets, and global forestry issues.  ”Combining FAO’s specialized expertise with National Geographic’s 126 years of award-winning photography and reporting is very exciting, and this agreement will help bring up-to-date information about hunger and  nutrition challenges and solutions to a very wide public audience,” said Mehdi Drissi, FAO Chief of Media Relations.

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