A coffee worker holds a handful of coffee beans just picked 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. 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. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Guatemala’s president declared a national emergency Friday over the spread of coffee rust, saying the fungus that has hit other Central American countries is affecting 70 percent of this nation’s crop.
President Otto Molina Perez ordered the release of more than $14 million to aid coffee growers. He said the funds would help 60,000 small farmers buy pesticides and also finance instruction to teach them how to prevent the disease and stop it from spreading.
“If we don’t take the needed measures, in 2013-2014 our production could drop by 40 percent,” Molina said in making his country the third in the region to decree emergencies in Login to read more