The U.S. Government Is Spending Millions to Protect Coffee From Climate Change


mentalfloss
#1
The U.S. Government Is Spending Millions to Protect Coffee From Climate Change

The United States government is about to funnel $5 million into research that may help protect the global coffee supply. The investment, however, has nothing to do with concerns over domestic productivity—or even the increasingly inalienable right to get a serious cup of coffee, as The New York Times recently put it, everywhere.

Rather, the government's partnership with Texas A&M University’s World Coffee Research Center is geared at protecting the economies—and the residents—of some of the most dangerous and impoverished countries in the world from the scourge of coffee-leaf rust.

The disease, which resembles the fungus that infects rosebushes, appears as a bright scattering of orange dots on the underside of the coffee shrubs' leaves. As it spreads—from leaf to leaf, from plant to plant—it begins to damage the berries too, ruining the crop. Rust, or roya, as it's called in Spanish, has been around for more than a century—it all but wiped out the coffee economy in what was then Ceylon starting in 1879, bringing about that islands famous tea plantations—but only recently began to show up in the high-altitude coffee-growing areas of Latin America, where some of the most coveted arabica beans are grown.

Coffee—and the seriousness with which a shot is pulled or a cup brewed, a suspender-wearing barista deliberately swirling a stream of hot water over the precious grounds—is increasingly symbolizing a consumer culture that’s willing to pay more for the highest-quality food products. The beverage is shifting away from its populist roots. A $5 pour-over may be a small luxury, but the coffee is the livelihood of growers and workers throughout Latin America. In a region that suffers from high poverty rates and entrenched violence, coffee exports are one of the few civil and economic bright spots.

Honduras, Belize, El Salvador, and Guatemala are all in the top five on the list of highest homicide rates in the world. In Honduras, which outpaced Guatemala as the leading coffee producer in the region in 2011, five of 10 residents live in extreme poverty, according to the World Bank. Coffee may be big business, but it’s not big coffee: 85,000 small farmers, each moving fewer than 77 sixty-kilo bags of coffee a year, account for 90 percent of the country’s production. Two million Hondurans—roughly 23 percent of the population—are involved with the annual harvest. If, as the U.S. Agency for International Development estimates, production drops by 15 to 40 percent in the coming years owing to rust, a country that’s barely getting by would be devastated—and its impoverished, coffee-producing neighbors are facing a similarly grim future.


The Great Famine’s Lesson for Coffee

It used to be that rust couldn’t survive at high altitudes, protecting much of Latin America’s production. But the fungus is now running rampant in the mountains, and many believe that climate change is what has allowed it to worm its way into new territory. There’s been increasingly heavy rainfall across the region in the past couple of years, and the fungus loves a damp environment. A&M’s World Coffee Research Center believes it’s such climate change–driven inclement weather, not some mutant strain of roya, that’s spurring the spread.

“Wild and extreme climate events like this will continue and cause more problems as time goes on,” Tim Schilling, executive director of WCR, said last year. “We simply must invest in research to provide solutions to farmers while governments and the U.N. try to fix the global climate crisis.”

Fungicides have proved ineffective in combating the rust, which means that the plants themselves have to change. The simple solution is to switch over to robusta varieties of coffee. But that would likely bring the popularity of Guatemala's and El Salvador’s beans among the hipster coffee set to an end. While those high-end coffees are made almost exclusively with arabica beans, robusta harvests are largely processed into instant coffee. So plant breeders at WCR will be looking at other ways to develop rust-resistant arabica varieties with the help of the new federal cash.

The U.S. Government Is Spending Millions to Protect Coffee From Climate Change | TakePart (external - login to view)
 
Walter
+2
#2  Top Rated Post
Gubmints just can't help themselves.
 
B00Mer
#3
Protect that coffee, because nothing is worse than a cranky voter in the morning..
 
mentalfloss
+1
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by WalterView Post

Gubmints just can't help themselves.

The American dream, where people sought to do it for themselves instead of asking for handouts from the government in the form of tax cuts.

What happened to the good old days?
 
B00Mer
#5


Ha! ...and my land in Big Spring, Texas is nice and dry...

City of Big Spring | Big Spring, Texas | Home (external - login to view)

Big Spring Texas (external - login to view)
 
petros
#6
You're all going to drown from fusarium?

How did global warming cause fusarium to nearly wipe out African coffee in 1929¿
 
EagleSmack
+2
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

The U.S. Government Is Spending Millions to Protect Coffee From Climate Change

The United States government is about to funnel $5 million into research that may help protect the global coffee supply.

This is what the fight is all about... money and more money. Some group or groups just got a $5 Million boost from the govt. off of irrational fear.
 
petros
+1
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmackView Post

This is what the fight is all about... money and more money. Some group or groups just got a $5 Million boost from the govt. off of irrational fear.

Fusarium isn't new. Pegging it to Global Warming is.
 
mentalfloss
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmackView Post

This is what the fight is all about... money and more money. Some group or groups just got a $5 Million boost from the govt. off of irrational fear.

You mean like Monsanto does on food production fears?

Or are their fears based on the 'good science' ?
 
EagleSmack
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Fusarium isn't new. Pegging it to Global Warming is.

I am sure they do not care about fusarium. Some folks just got a $5 Million dollar boost to simply say we need immediate action to stop climate change and more money to prevent the destruction of coffee crops. That is all they have to say and that is all they are going to say. Their research is already done.
 
petros
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

You mean like Monsanto does on food production fears?

Or are their fears based on the 'good science' ?

Monsanto is behind fusarium AND global warming fusarium?
 
mentalfloss
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Monsanto is behind fusarium AND global warming fusarium?

Try again.
 
petros
#13
Monsanto is behind global warming?
 
mentalfloss
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Monsanto is behind global warming?

That's not it either.

Think more GMO, less Monsanto.
 
petros
#15
GMO is causing global warming and the 100 year old fight against fusarium?
 
mentalfloss
#16
A Tale of Two Scientific Consensuses - Reason.com (external - login to view)
 
taxslave
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

A Tale of Two Scientific Consensuses - Reason.com (external - login to view)

Seems to me consensus is what got witches burned at the stake in Salem.
 
Locutus
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

... Climate Change

 
petros
#19
Are you okay? You don't remember posting this thread blaming fusarium on global warming? If you insist going this route answer this:

After 20 years of GMO, where are the dead ringer problems and deaths?
 
mentalfloss
#20
You didn't read it, did you?
 
petros
+1
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

You didn't read it, did you?

I did. It was pro-GMO ya moron.
 
mentalfloss
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

I did. It was pro-GMO ya moron.

No **** lol

You still don't get it.
 
petros
#23
Please explain.
 
mentalfloss
#24
Well, do you accept the scientific consensus on the general safety of GMOs?
 
petros
+1
#25
Mostly except for the crop psychologists.

You?
 
mentalfloss
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Mostly except for the crop psychologists.

You?

Of course I do.

It's the same methodology used to show scientific consensus on AGW.
 
petros
+1
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

Of course I do.

It's the same methodology used to show scientific consensus on AGW.

They include psychologists in the GMO consensus? What does psychology have to do with crop sciences?
 
mentalfloss
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

They include psychologists in the GMO consensus? What does psychology have to do with crop sciences?

Your gig is up.

 
petros
#29
Real science is going to save you from the climate scientists?
 
mentalfloss
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Real science is going to save you from the climate scientists?

It's sad to see you in such a state of logical paralysis.

I'm always here to help if you can finally let go.
 
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