Fungus devastates coffee crops in Guatemala; national emergency declared
A coffee worker Petrona Lopez Chiquival takes rests against a tree on a coffee plantation in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, Friday, Feb. 8, 2013. Guatemala's President Otto Perez Molina has declared a national emergency over the spread coffee rust, a fungus that is affecting 70 percent of the country's crop. (AP Photo / Moises Castillo)
Published Friday, February 8, 2013 7:03PM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 8, 2013 10:42PM EST
GUATEMALA CITY -- Guatemala's president has declared a national emergency over the spread of coffee rust, a fungus that is affecting 70 per cent of the country's crop.
President Otto Molina Perez also has ordered the release of more than $14 million to aid coffee growers.
He says the funds are aimed at helping 60,000 small farmers to buy pesticides and to teach them how to prevent the disease and stop it from spreading.
Molina said Friday that the pesticides will start being applied to coffee plants in April and that two more applications will be needed during the year.
Coffee rust is currently affecting plantations in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica.