Guatemalan coffee growers battling deadly plant fungus, stiff competition abandon farms for US

img custom dee e e fb bc a fcc b e s c
Coffee Rust, fungus linked to climate change threatens coffee plants in South America. Credit: Jeff Koehler, NPR

Guatemala’s coffee farmers are at the mercy of one of the world’s most volatile commodity markets. Over the past two years, the price has been pushed down by the increase in cheap, mechanized coffee production in Brazil — the Saudi Arabia of coffee — the strength of the U.S. dollar and increased production in Vietnam, Honduras and Colombia. It’s a perfect storm that has eaten away at the value of the beans even as the price of lattes and Americanos in U.S. shops has risen.

Meanwhile, production costs for Guatemala’s 120,000 small-scale coffee farmers have increased as they’ve been forced to buy chemicals to combat the growth of coffee rust, a fungus believed to be associated with climate change.

Related article:  Viewpoint: GM crops could help slow climate change. Will environmental groups block their development?

Guatemala is now the single largest source of migrants attempting to enter the United States …. Here in western Guatemala, one of the biggest factors in that surge is the falling price of coffee, from $2.20 per pound in 2015 to a low this year of 86 cents — about a 60 percent drop. Since 2017, most farmers have been operating at a loss …. A staggering number of those farmers have decided to migrate.

Read full, original article: ‘The migration problem is a coffee problem’ (Behind Paywall)

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Genetics Unzipped
Infographic: How dangerous COVID mutant strains develop

Infographic: How dangerous COVID mutant strains develop

Sometime in 2019, probably in China, SARS CoV-2 figured out a way to interact with a specific "spike" on the ...
Untitled

Philip Njemanze: Leading African anti-GMO activist claims Gates Foundation destroying Nigeria

Nigerian anti-GMO activist, physician, and inventor pushes anti-gay and anti-GMO ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend