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4044 views August 10, 2013 posted by Maja Wallengren

United Nations Say Thousands of Rust-Hit Honduran Coffee Families Lack Food Security

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Coffee Being Brought in to Mills From Harvest in Remote Areas in Honduras

Honduras 2013-14 Harvest Seen Down 25% To 4.6M Bags

AUG 10 (SpillingTheBeans)–Thousands of coffee families in Honduras are seing their basic food security threatened as a result of the current outbreak of the crop pest “coffee leaf rust” which is affecting an estimated 25 percent of the coffee producing areas in Honduras.

This is a direct result of the growing socio-economic impact of the rust outbreak, which has hit the entire Latin American coffee growing belt from Mexico to Peru and has left Central America as the worst affected area, U.N. officials said last week.

As a consequence, the United Nations World Food Program has signed a “cooperation agreement” with the official Honduran Coffee Institute (Ihcafe) and the Honduran Coffee Growers Association, AHPROCAFE, in order to provide emergency food aid to the worst affected small holder coffee farmers affected by the rust, the WFP said in a statement.

As many as 100,000 jobs have been lost in the Honduran coffee sector because of the rust outbreak, Ihcafe has reported, and the new WFP-AHPROCAFE-IHCAFE partnership seeks to ensure the food security of some 8,3000 coffee families living in 61 municipalities in the departments of Comayagua, Copan, El Paraíso, Francisco Morazán, Intibucá, La Paz, Lempira, Ocotepeque, Olancho, Yoro and Santa Barbara.

A total of 42,000 people will benefit through the implementation of food-for-work activities to promote the rehabilitation of crops that were affected by the coffee rust, the WFP said, adding that this group represents about 20 percent of all the coffee producers in what is considered “the most vulnerable municipalities” which will received over 1.254 metric tons of food worth more than $1.3 million dollars.

Prior to the rust outbreak, Ihcafe had projected the 2013-14 harvest to produce 6.1 million 60-kilogram bags thanks to the increase in production from new areas planted in the last 3 to 5 years and now starting to enter the production cycle. Since the rust outbreak, however, Ihcafe agronomists have said it’s unlikely total output will reach more than 4.6 million bags.

Families considered for receiving support from the WFP emergency program is selected based on a criteria that at least 30 percent of their crop and income-earning potential has been affected by rust, in addition to have less than 2 hectares and which are run by families with children under 5 years of age.

Ihcafe has projected that between 20 and 25 percent of the new 2013-14 harvest will be lost due to the damaging effects of the rust disease, which has hit some 68,000 hectares of Honduras’ total coffee area estimated at 272,000 hectares in the last 2012-13 harvest season.

Prior to the rust outbreak, Ihcafe had projected the 2013-14 harvest to produce 6.1 million 60-kilogram bags thanks to the increase in production from new areas planted in the last 3 to 5 years and now starting to enter the production cycle. Since the rust outbreak, however, Ihcafe agronomists have said it’s unlikely total output will reach more than 4.6 million bags.

Ihcafe has more than 111,100 registered coffee producers who holds an average 2.4 hectares of land per family, but over 92 percent of those have significantly less than 2 hectares as the national average is pulled up by larger private estates. heart

For more on Honduras; http://spilling-the-beans.net/harvest-analysis-honduras-july-coffee-exports-sharply-down-63-on-rust-damage/

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