South America is one of the main coffee importers of coffee. Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, and El Salvador have all been affected by the recent blight. The rain continues to arrive, but still plantations are producing damaged bushes.
Because of what a large industry coffee is in these countries, over half a million people have been out of work because of the severe damage to the plants. Because of job loss, migration to the U.S., and subsequently crime, have increased.
The rust usually doesn’t exist in the coffee-growing conditions, but because of a change of climate, it can now thrive on the plants. “No one imagined that it could thrive in that environment and go airborne,” said Christian Wolthers to the McClatchy News. As a past president of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, he has observed the coffee industry over the years.
Usually, pesticides have been able to kill off the rust, but in this case, the climate and environment over powered the herbicides. Farmers are looking for alternative ways to assist the situation, and hopefully keep the countries that they export to, like America, running on coffee.