January 31st, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) Costa Rica’s Agricultural Engineers Association believes that the recent spread of a fungus, commonly know as “coffee rust,” through the national coffee crop is the result of “unusual carelessness,” and is resulting in serious consequences.
Eugenio Porras, president of the association (known as a colegio in Spanish), questioned how the fungus got in the national crop, even though there is an ongoing program to study the bacteria, an ongoing monitoring program, specialists on hand, and training in proper dosing and application times of fungicides.
Porras said that 50% of the 2013-2014 coffee harvest is currently at risk. A few days ago, the government signed an emergency decree and allocated 2 billion colones (about $4 million USD) to fight the spread of the fungus.
The Agricultural Engineers Association, however, believes the government’s effort could fall short if not accompanied by training programs and technical assistance.
The areas most affected by the rust – the most destructive disease of coffee – are Perez Zeledon and Coto Brus.