Anyone familiar with the whole seed to cup process is well aware of the challenges involved in growing coffee. Coffee leaf rust is a devastating disease that has the potential to bankrupt small coffee farms by destroying up to 80% of the plants. So how can you protect your farm from coffee leaf rust? You first have to understand its cause and symptoms.
Coffee leaf rust is caused by the fungus Hemileia vastatrix, which prevents the plants from photosynthesizing light into energy. The symptoms include small, yellowish, oily spots on the upper part of the leaf, which expands to larger round spots and finally brown with a yellow border.
The under leaf is powdery with a yellow-orange type of color that can be easily transferred by wind, rain and clothes & tools of workers. They eventually fall off, until the coffee tree is virtually denuded. These trees have significantly lower coffee yields and usually die off with a given number of years.
Rising temperature causes an increase in the spread of coffee leaf rust. The output at the time of harvesting is the lower yield on the coffee crop, hence compromising quality and quantity. After harvesting of the early crop, the low yields experienced by farmers has been one of the causes for the delayed opening of the Nairobi coffee exchange.
Connect Coffee in partnership with Coffee Research institute (C.R.I) has extended its hand through efforts geared towards supporting and imparting knowledge a number of small scale farmers affected. This will be done through farmers’ training on remedies, prevention, enhancing crop yields, and funding for biological chemical
Do you have any suggestions on practices that farmers can employ?
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