The same global coffee surplus that protected large roasters made coffee so cheap that it undercut Central American farmers' ability to combat the disease.
Prices are up two times since the beginning of this year due to uncertainty about the lack of rain in
A Wounded crop
Hemileia vastatrix, as the coffee rust fungus is scientifically known, is not a new. It devastated Southeast Asian plantations in the 19th century. Since appearing in
But the persistent that appeared in 2012 is unprecedented in the region. Experts say the culprits include disruption of weather and rain patterns, as well as chronic underinvestment in renewing coffee plantations and in creating rust-resistant hybrids. Warmer weather and new varieties of the fungus also brought the disease to highland farms, which had to learn from scratch how to control it.