The U.S government is stepping in to make sure coffee remains affordable. Right now, a fungus called coffee rust is causing $1 billion in crop damage to Arabica coffee beans in Latin America. The fungus could cause popular specialty coffees in America to skyrocket.
The rust, called roya in Spanish, is a fungus that is highly contagious due to airborne fungal spores. It affects different varieties but the Arabica beans are especially susceptible. Rainy weather worsens the problem.
Coffee that is mass produced in the United States comes from Asia. The more expensive coffee are from Central America and farmers there often don't have enough money to buy the fungicides needed.
USAID intends to work with Texas A&M to step up research on rust resistant coffee varieties and help Latin America better monitor and respond to the fungus. Companies are trying to ensure that their future supply isn't affected, so they are working closely with growers on better practices that will help avoid contamination.