Honduras will replace almost eight per cent of its coffee plantations with cocoa farms in 2016, the country’s economic development minister, Alden Rivera, has announced. Rivera said that in 2016 the government would convert to cocoa the 20,000 hectares hit hardest by the tree-killing fungus La roya, known commonly as coffee rust. Rivera told Reuters that over the next few years 60,000 hectares of coffee would be converted to cocoa. Honduras, Central America’s biggest coffee producer, has 264,000 hectares of coffee crops, but has been badly hit by rust and drought over the years. The 2012-13 harvest produced 8 million quintals of coffee, but approximately 1.8 million quintals were lost from coffee rust. According to the United Nations World Food Bank, up to 100,000 jobs were lost as a result of that disease outbreak, causing them to respond with an emergency US$1.3 million in food aid. The United States Department of Agriculture reported in June that Honduras’s rust-resistant trees would propel an increase in crop output from Central America. The USDA said that of the 750,000 60-kilogram bags expected from the region in 2014-15, a record 5.9 million would come from Honduras. According to the USDA, the impact of coffee leaf rust was lessened in Honduras thanks to the widespread use of IHCAFE 90, Lempira and Parainema, which are rust resistant coffee varieties. It is not known why the government has decided to replace crops with cocoa rather than their rust resistant crops.