NCBA CLUSA El Salvador last month held a workshop for 90 coffee growers to help shape a local response to coffee rust, a coffee plant killing disease that jeopardizes the livelihoods of thousands of rural households who depend on coffee production.
Coffee rust weakens coffee trees, compromising the quality of the next season’s coffee berries and dramatically reducing yield, if not destroying the plant altogether. Neighboring Guatemala declared a state of agricultural emergency in 2013 after the fungus destroyed 70 percent of the national crop.
The workshop falls under NCBA CLUSA’s monetization project to restore coffee crops and stabilize coffee production in El Salvador, which plays a significant role in regional coffee production.
The feedback gathered from the coffee growers will be analyzed by project staff and used to guide NCBA CLUSA El Salvador’s approach to the threat.
“This information will help to define future joint activities to contribute to coffee rehabilitation,” said Anaí Sorto, communication specialist for NCBA CLUSA El Salvador.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Coffee Stabilization Project will work with 7,500 producers, 50 producer organizations and cooperatives, along with government agencies and the private sector. NCBA CLUSA will monetize 20,000 metric tons of hard red winter wheat and 8,725 metric tons of soybean meal over four years to bolster the coffee value chain and expand the trade of agricultural products.
“This project comes at the right time. The farmers will greatly benefit from this value chain fortification,” Stanley Kuehn, NCBA CLUSA’s regional director for Latin America, said at the project launch in November.