The La Roya Recovery Project is a safe, organic sustainable strategy driven by coffee farming communities to halt the debilitating effects of the coffee fungus “la roya”.
IMAGINE LOSING 75% OF YOUR INCOME? THAT’S THE REALITY FOR MANY COFFEE FARMERS SINCE THE OUTBREAK OF THE COFFEE FUNGUS LA ROYA.
La roya (the rust) is a fungus that eats away at the leaves of coffee plants, preventing them from flowering or producing coffee beans. In recent years, the fungus has devastated coffee production in Central America. While common to low lying regions, the fungus has spread to higher altitudes where coffee is grown. Many experts point to climate change as increasing temperatures allow the fungus to thrive at cooler, higher altitudes. Small-scale coffee farmers have lost up to 75% of their coffee crops to the fungus, deeply impacting coffee farming families that are already vulnerable to poverty, along with the fluctuating market of the coffee economy.
BUILDING A COFFEE COMMUNITY THAT IS STRONGER THAN RUST.
The La Roya Recovery Project is empowering coffee farmers to recover lost coffee production and to ensure the health of future coffee harvests by providing long-term, cost-effective strategies to combat the fungus, replenish soils, improve the overall health of small scale farms, and bolster the livelihoods of coffee farming families in need. The Coffee Trust is partnering with coffee cafes across the nation and abroad to empower coffee consumers to become more aware of the current crisis facing coffee farmers and make a meaningful contribution toward a more sustainable coffee industry. These cafe fundraisers allow coffee drinkers to tip their farmer, as well as their barista, with donations during their purchase. Funds raised go direct to The La Roya Recovery Project to ensure the future of the coffee growing industry.
Fundamental to the project is that new farming strategies are shared laterally from farmer-to-farmer, leveraging the trust that already exists between farmers. Farmers develop, experiment with, and share effective techniques with each other, guided by the philosophy that you must practice what you preach. This approach expands competence, builds local pride, and spreads information organically beyond project areas as farmers continue to dialogue about improving sustainable coffee production.
Effective Microorganisms (EMs) are a probiotic for plants, acting as a safe, organic inoculant against the rust and improving soil quality so that plants can uptake nutrients faster and more efficiently, strengthening coffee plants to ward off the dangerous pathogens and pests. Coffee farmers make the EMs themselves, combining equal parts molasses and and effective microorganism starter with water. The application of EMs is proving to be extremely successful at tackling the la roya fungus and improving the overall health of coffee crops.
Your contribution helps farmers learn, share and employ these sustainable, organic and affordable agricultural strategies:
- Producing and applying affordable effective microorganism (EMs) to coffee plants to kill la roya on the leaves of the plants and starve la roya in the soil.
- Nurturing crop soils by applying organic compost and ash to retain minerals, and replenishing lost nitrogen through cover cropping techniques.
- Improving the overall strength of coffee plants through grafting and strategic pruning techniques.
- Continuing to plant varietals that produce the finest quality coffee and generate higher prices for coffee farmers.
- Training local farmers as promoters who, in turn, train other farmers in these cost effective sustainable strategies.