Coffee Disease In Brazil And Central America To Raise Prices

Fun facts to know about coffee for National Coffee Day Shutterstock/amenic181

Coffee consumption in the United States is on a rise, with a 2013 National Coffee Association survey finding that 83 percent of adults in the country drink coffee. The data from the survey also found that 63 percent of adults drink coffee on a daily basis -- a quantitative value that is higher than the findings from 2011.

With the consumption of coffee on the rise, there is news of a potential shortage of the global coffee supply due to problems in Brazil and Central America involving coffee crops. The world's largest producer, Brazil, is suffering production loss from this season's drought and the effect can be seen in the 60 percent increase in prices.

"If you were to do a drive-by in some of the leading regions in Brazil, you would see what appears to be healthy-looking fruit, and a lot of it," says Lindsey Bolger, vice president of coffee sourcing for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to NPR, adding that when the fruit is opened, they see the beans are not formed and are folded in on themselves earning the nickname "origami beans."

And it's not just the drought: Coffee trees in Central America and Peru are being plagued with a leaf rust disease called "La Roya." The plant-choking fungus has spread across a vast area, and it has spread quickly, leading many experts to believe that climate change is to blame.

"The rise in global temperature is of great concern for us in the coffee industry because it will -- and has already started -- putting the supply of quality coffee at great risk," said Dr Tim Schilling, executive director of the World Coffee Research program, based at Texas A&M University, to The Guardian. "It is also obvious that increasing temperatures -- as well as extreme weather events -- have a very negative affect on production. Over the long term, you will definitely see coffee prices going up as a result of climate change."

Unfortunately, coffee prices are not the only impact since millions in South America rely on the coffee-industry to earn a living. But according to a recent announcement from the U.S. Agency for International Development, an additional $5 million will be invested to create a breed of coffee trees that can resist the leaf rust disease.

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Susmita Baral

Susmita Baral joined Latin Times in April 2013. Her work has been published in VICE, Weight Watchers Magazine, Unique Homes Magazine, US Airways Magazine, Vista Magazine, Daily Glow and Kaplan. She holds a B.A. Psychology from Rutgers University. A self-proclaimed foodie, Susmita is a freelance list maker, part-time Shaq devotee, and a full-time eyeliner junkie who believes mac and cheese is a birthright.