In an effort to save crop for the 2013-2014 season, Costa Rican authorities say they will begin the distribution of packs of agrichemicals that will enable coffee growers to combat a fungus known as Roya de Café (Leaf Rust).
Icafé – the Instituto del Café de Costa Rica (Costa Rica Coffee Institute) – says that the fungus affects some 65% of the country’s coffee plantations.
The aid for growers consists of providing packs containing fungicides for spraying, and which can be picked up at 23 offices of the Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería (MAG), across the country.
The executive director of the Icafe, Ronald Peters, said the agrichemicals chosen are well-known to growers and that he was confident they will help solve the problem.
Official figures show that La Roya fungushas affected 65% of the 93,000 hectares (230,000 acres) of coffee plantations in the country, of which 15,000 (37,000) show grave damage.
Crop losses in the 2012-2013 season from the La Roya fungus, which weakens the plant, dries the leaves and causes beans to drop off prematurely, are calculated at US$44 million.