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USAID, Texas A&M partner to fight coffee rust

Monday, May 19, 2014 - 01:22

May 19 - USAID partners with Texas A&M to invest $5 million in fight against coffee rust, a disease plaguing Central America's coffee crop, threatening livelihoods. Gavino Garay reports.

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This orange colored fungus is called coffee rust, and it's eating away at coffee crop across Central America. Now, USAID is announcing a new 5 million dollar investment and partnership with Texas A&M University to fight the problem plaguing the coffee industry. USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah explains. (SOUNDBITE) USAID ADMINISTRATOR RAJIV SHAH SAYING: "Since 2010, coffee rust, which is a disease, a fungus that attacks the coffee tree, has dramatically reduced coffee output on small farms in Central America, and in Latin America." It's not only a blow to producers. Experts say a fall in production would mean higher prices for a cup of coffee. Perhaps even more worrisome is the livelihoods of those who depend on the crop to survive. (SOUNDBITE) USAID ADMINISTRATOR RAJIV SHAH SAYING: "Coffee rust is affecting, and potentially could affect 500,000 small scale farmers, and push them back under the poverty line. As a result, their children could go hungry, and they would suffer the consequences of losing their main source of livelihood, because this disease can wipe out coffee yields by as much as 15 to 40 percent in a given year." Officials say the latest USAID effort brings the sum to $14 million invested by the agency in the fight against coffee rust.

USAID, Texas A&M partner to fight coffee rust

Monday, May 19, 2014 - 01:22

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