January 17, 2018      3 min read

For many people, a day without a coffee would be a struggle. Plenty of people drink coffee to help them wake up in the morning. Often, people say they feel more productive when they have a cup of coffee. Some people drink it to warm up in winter months or in colder climates. Others use it as an energy boost to get them through the afternoon at work. Coffee is used for social outings, taking a break from the task at hand, or when people want a relaxing moment to themselves. Regardless of the reason, it’s fair to say that a day without coffee would be a struggle for a large portion of the population. However, the coffee industry itself faces numerous struggles in the production of one of the world’s most favoured beverages.

There is a lot of pressure on coffee producers to meet the massive global demand and many challenges facing the industry threaten the production. Coffee producers are subject to an assortment of pests that threaten their crops, low wages, and are faced with unreliable weather.

Threats to the Coffee Industry

A variety of pests, diseases, and fungi can drastically threaten the coffee crop. The infamous coffee leaf rust, also known as la roya, is a devastating disease that attacks and kills the coffee plant. Initially, the plant becomes spotted with yellow marks on the leave that look similar to burn marks. The leaves wither down and it halts the bean-producing cherries from yielding any crop. Recently, it has been very prevalent in Central America and the Caribbean. Coffee leaf rust plagues specific types of coffee species. Unfortunately, the coffee varieties that are the most susceptible are often the higher quality plants. This means they would normally sell at higher prices, but there is a risk to planting them. For coffee farmers, the coffee plant is their most important asset.

The amount and quality of coffee stock they have directly impacts their livelihoods. It’s very important to mitigate these variables to ensure optimum stock control. Some farmers are taking stock control into their own hands by planting rust-resistant coffee. This means the farmers may not be able to make as much money off these rust-resistant varieties. However, they are decreasing their risk of incurring entirely damaged fields. This increases the stability of their stock control. However, changing types of coffee crops is also an expensive exercise. Moreover, the new crops will need five years to reach the same production levels of the previous crops.

Pests of the Coffee Industry

Unfortunately, coffee leaf rust or la roya is constantly changing and evolving. Therefore, it may impact other species soon and coffee farmers will have to use different tactics for coffee stock control. Coffee leaf rust is not the only threat to coffee plants. The coffee berry borer beetle, also referred to as la broca, is having a sinister effect on coffee as well. It doesn’t stop there. More pests are becoming more than a menace on coffee plants including termites, mealybugs, leafminers and more.

Climate change is also posing numerous issues for coffee growers. Farmers are feeling the impact of increasing temperatures and changes to rainfall amounts and patterns. With a lot of environmental threats and changes, the future of the coffee industry is something to keep your eye on.

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