It’s nearly the end of this year’s harvest season in most of Central America and after visiting our partner farms in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Costa Rica it was overwhelming to see the damage the Roya disease has done to a large amount of coffee plantations in these countries.
Roya (Spanish for rust) is a fungal disease of coffee plants that causes coffee rust on the underside of leaves and has a yellow-orange color with a powdery texture. The rust causes the coffee plants to lose their leaves, which results in lower yield. This disease has been spreading rapidly mostly throughout Central America and has become one of the biggest concerns in the coffee industry. Some countries have even declared a state of emergency as coffee crops have been ruined by roya.
All of our partner farms have been affected, some more than others. While speaking with Oscar Asturias, general manager of Santa Elisa de Pachup farm in Guatemala, he mentioned that this year’s production was 13% lower than expected due to the outbreak of roya.