Coffee Farmers Face Tough Choices
Blog post is written by Amanda Crossland, Product Manager for BUNN Home Products
I recently had the opportunity to tour Los Pastores coffee farm in Guatemala and see the devastation of coffee rust or Roya first hand. Roya is a parasitic leaf fungus that deprives the coffee plant of nutrients. Farmers in Guatemala are facing difficult choices that will impact production for years to come.
The most popular coffee varietals in the Antigua area of Guatemala are Bourbon, Caturra and Catuai. Bourbon is widely used due to its long production life, drought resistance and flavor characteristics. Unfortunately, Roya can be particularly devastating to Bourbon. Some farmers that grow Bourbon are replacing plants with Caturra or Catuai varietals that tend to be less impacted by Roya. Unfortunately, it takes about three years for these new plants to produce coffee. Another option is to treat the Bourbon plants with fungicide to control the Roya, prune and hope that they survive and produce coffee.
Anacafé , Guatemala’s coffee association, estimates that coffee production will be down 40% due to Roya for the 2013/2014 growing season. Since coffee is the largest export in Guatemala, the Roya outbreak will greatly impact the economy. The next time I enjoy a Guatemalan coffee I’ll think appreciate the hard work and tough choices that made it possible.
About the Author
Amanda joined the BUNN team in 2008 and is the Product Manager for Home Products. She enjoys interacting with coffee lovers to learn more about brewing great coffee and provide high quality products. When not exploring the coffee world, Amanda enjoys local and international volunteer work through the BUNN Development Guild, spending time with her young son William and exploring the underwater world through scuba diving.