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Sustainable Harvest Launches Coffee Leaf Rust Toolkit

Leaf rustSustainable Harvest Coffee Importers has released the Roya Recovery Project Toolkit, a technical guide for Latin American farmers dealing with the devastation caused by Coffee Leaf Rust Disease (also known as Roya).

The toolkit is being distributed as part of the Roya Recovery Project disaster relief effort launched earlier this year with the support from a cross-sector of the coffee industry including Cafe Moto, Cafe Mystique, Dillanos, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Oiko Credit and Progreso.

“Smallholder coffee farmers in Latin America are facing devastating losses as a result of this year’s Roya outbreak,” said David Griswold, President and Founder of Sustainable Harvest Coffee, in a statement. “While larger entities are developing their response plans, we felt It was important to move quickly to help coffee farmers who must start making recovery decisions now.”

Coffee leaf rust is expected to have severe social and economic impact in Central America, a region that produces 75 per cent of the world’s specialty coffee. Between 30 and 70 per cent of the region’s coffee supply and more than 500,000 jobs are at risk, prompting three countries - Honduras, Guatemala and Costa Rica - to declare states of emergency. In May, the government of Peru also declared a state of emergency, signalling the spread of the disease to South America.

Consisting of a DVD and written manual, the Toolkit provides technical information based on insight and recommendations from the most credible sources in the Central American coffee industry. Although the technical information is relevant to all, it is geared mainly to the unique needs of smallholder farmers growing certified organic coffee. By aggregating this information and making it broadly available Sustainable Harvest aims to empower farmers to make educated decisions that mitigate the long-term impact of coffee leaf rust.

Sustainable Harvest will be distributing the toolkit to all farmers in the company’s supply chain.

The company is interested in partnering with NGOs, government leaders, private companies and other organisations to get the information into the hands of as many farmers as possible. Options include purchasing toolkits for distribution and/or sponsoring farmers to attend Let’s Talk Roya.

Individual copies of the toolkit are available via the project website, www.royarecoveryproject.org, can be downloaded for US$50 and/or ordered in hardcopy for US$50 plus shipping and handling. Volume discounts are offered for those interested in purchasing 25 or more copies.

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