Here’s some bad, bad news.
According to the Associated Press, a fungus called “coffee rust” is threatening coffee production throughout Latin America. Here are the chilling details:
At issue is a fungus called coffee rust that has caused more than $1 billion in damage across Latin American region. The fungus is especially deadly to Arabica coffee, the bean that makes up most high-end, specialty coffees.
Already, it is affecting the price of some of those coffees in the United States.
“We are concerned because we know coffee rust is already causing massive amounts of devastation,” said Raj Shad, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development.
On Monday, he was expected to announce a $5 million partnership with Texas A&M University’s World Coffee Research center to try to eliminate the fungus.
The real tragedy, of course, is what the impact might be on farmers, who rely on coffee production (hopefully free trade) for their income. With production potentially falling by as much as 40%, the effects could be dramatic — estimates suggest 500,000 people could lose their jobs.
Thus far, major coffee sellers in the U.S. have been able to avoid any disruptions to the supply, and thus prices aren’t heating up — yet.
Posted by Steve