Agriculture authorities in the Dominican Republic are making efforts to fight coffee rust, which now affects about 58 percent of the national crop. Coffee rust— a fungus called Hemileia vastatrix—is a disease that is devastating to coffee plantations.
Dominican President Danilo Medina recently approved a new task force to lead the fight against coffee rust. The initiative will have an initial funding of 154 million pesos (about 3,758,588 U.S. dollars) and the task force will be headed by Minister of Agriculture Luis Ramón Rodríguez.
Last month, President Medina declared rust control to be of imperative national interest because of the damage to coffee bean production in the Dominican Republic and Central America. Through a decree, the president instructed the Dominican Coffee Council to begin immediate implementation of a comprehensive program for integrated management of the disease.
According to various sources, rust has spread very fast in all Central American coffee growing areas and in the Dominican Republic and could affect up to half of the harvest for 2013-2014.
According to Medina, it is necessary to act quickly and adopt phytosanitary measures to reduce the level of infection in the crops. In this regard, the president sought the collaboration and support of all the decentralized and autonomous groups of the state with the new committee.
[See related article by Rachel Tepper at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/25/coffee-rust-cenicafe_n_2935249.html.]
For original article (in Spanish), see http://www.elpostantillano.com/economia-solidaria/5817-prensa-latina.html
Photo from http://www.womenincoffee.org/?q=node/119