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US acts to fight disease harming 'fair trade' coffee

Published on May 20, 2014 6:29 AM
 
This Feb 26, 2014 file photo shows Nicaraguan coffee grower Gloria Balladares, 43, showing a rust blighted coffee plant at a plantation near Somoto, 200km from Managua. The US government announced on May 19, 2014 a new US$5 million (S$6.3 million) effort to fight a disease savaging Central America's "fair trade" coffee bean harvest and pressuring the price of a morning cup. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US government announced on Monday a new US$5 million (S$6.3 million) effort to fight a disease savaging Central America’s "fair trade" coffee bean harvest and pressuring the price of a morning cup.

The US Agency for International Development said the outbreak of coffee rust has caused US$1 billion in damage in Central and South America and the Caribbean since 2012 and threatens a half-million jobs.

It said a new partnership with Texas A&M University’s World Coffee Research institute to eliminate coffee rust and shore up farmers’ livelihoods would also ensure farmers do not turn to producing lucrative drug crops.

"Coffee rust threatens more than your morning coffee – it affects jobs, businesses, and the security of millions across the Americas," USAID Associate Administrator Mark Feierstein said.

 
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