Feed the Future
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The coffee rust (Hemileia vastatrix): Some biological and epidemiological aspects

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April 11, 2013

This seminar is part of the "Emerging Plant Diseases" series.

Coffee Leaf Rust, also known as “La roya,” is devastating coffee crops and farmer incomes in Central America and the Caribbean. The United States is engaged with the governments in the region, other international organizations, private coffee companies, universities and coffee institutes to identify ways to alleviate the situation and combat this outbreak. Coffee Rust first originated In Kenya in the 1860s and was later observed in Southeast Asia and spread into Latin America in Brazil in the late 1960s and early 1970s. By the mid to late 1980s coffee rust had spread throughout the Americas. The disease has slowly remerged and is causing severe outbreaks in the region. States of emergency have been declared in every Central American coffee growing country, Peru and the Dominican Republic. Official estimates for the 2013-2014 growing season have predicted losses of $500 million USD with 50% or the regions coffee sector affected. In this seminar, coffee rust expert and plant pathologist Jacque Avelino discusses the biology of the pathogen and methods for disease management.

Bio: Jacques Avelino is a plant pathologist, with a PhD degree of the University of Orsay, Paris, France. He has been working for CIRAD (Centre de coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement), France, since 1986. He is now posted at CATIE (Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza), Costa Rica, through the coffee network PROMECAFE. He spent almost 27 years conducting research primarily on coffee and cacao pests and diseases in four Mesoamerican countries: Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica. He has worked on the coffee rust problem, studying the effects of the environment (including landscape) and of crop management, particularly shade, on this disease.

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