We recently received word from Las Marias 93 in El Salvador that they will not be able to export coffee in 2014 due to Leaf Rust or “Roya” as it is called. We were there in January and– while the rust was present– they felt that they would only lose a percentage of their crop. Cooperative president Porfirio Diaz puts the loss at 65%-70% of the total yield and the co-op has decided to roast what will be left at their facility and to sell in their local markets. He feels that Marias will need three years to properly recover from the blight. In the interim they will salvage what they can to roast and sell in the domestic market.
This is the story of Central America this year and this year’s harvest will see thousands of farmers and laborers struggling to make ends meet and to meet the basic needs of their families. Governments are slow to respond and do not have much to offer in the way of social safety nets. With the expected continued deviation in weather patterns cause by climate change, there is no immediate relief in sight.
With great cooperatives like FEM/Las Diosas and Las Marias in crisis we will be working to identify how we can help. If you are interested in supporting efforts to help these cooperatives please keep checking back on our media and visit Outside the Bean.