World Coffee Research and PROMECAFE to hold emergency coffee leaf rust summit

World Coffee Research (WCR) and PROMECAFE will hold an emergency Rust Summit in Guatemala from 18 – 20 April 2013. The event will see concerned regional bodies come together to discuss the coffee rust outbreak that has affected almost all of Central America. This will include scientists, Central American governments, national coffee boards, certifying agencies, fungicide companies, exporters, roasters, donor organisations and finance/credit entities. Recent changes of weather patterns have created favourable conditions for rapid rust spore development in the area. Losses for this coffee producing year could hit between 20 – 30 per cent, but could increase to near 50 per cent next year if a strategy is not put in place, the WCR said in a statement. The objective of the summit is to bring together scientific expertise on coffee rust to work with national institutions, and the key value chain segments, to determine strategies and best practices to prevent and control future rust epidemics in the short, medium and long term. The summit will also aim to generate an understanding of the socio-economic implications of the current rust epidemic, which has seen dramatic job losses among cherry pickers, and significant losses of income for coffee farmers. The summit will aim to devise collective strategies for mitigating negative economic impacts, and supporting coffee-dependent communities to cope and recover. The agenda will look at a situation analysis, short-term control, how to get tools into the hands of farmers, and medium and long-term strategies. Anyone interested in participating can contact Johanna Roman or Dulce Obin .

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