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Coffee Rust Outbreak in Central America, Southern Mexico, and the Caribbean

WASHINGTON – Coffee rust is a destructive fungus that infects a coffee plant’s leaves, causing them to yellow and drop prematurely, thereby reducing yields and bean quality.

Central America, southern Mexico, and the Caribbean are currently experiencing one of the worst outbreaks of coffee rust since it first appeared in the region in 1976. The International Coffee Organization (ICO) reports that coffee rust has been detected in up to 30 percent of coffee growing areas.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that in 2012/13, Mexico and Central America’s production is estimated to decline 7 percent to 17.9 million bags. For 2013/14, production is forecast to decline an additional 8 percent to 16.5 million bags. As a result of coffee rust and the decline in production, the ICO anticipates 374,000 coffee sector workers will lose their jobs this year.

The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, Agency for International Development, Department of Agriculture, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative are working with the Central American and Caribbean governments, international organizations, civil societies, coffee associations, and the private sector to control coffee rust and mitigate its impact. Fact Sheet»

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