The mountains of Nicaragua are known for producing high-quality coffee, but a disease called “coffee leaf rust” has destroyed much of the country’s crops, raising concerns of labor displacement, increased poverty and even famine.
Nicaragua’s coffee business employs roughly one-third of the country’s population in one way or another. But the outbreak of a disease called coffee rust (roya, in Spanish) is having dire consequences on many of their lives, particularly coffee planters. In addition to causing unemployment and financial difficulty, it’s led to malnutrition and is even forcing some to flee the country in search of working opportunities.
Correspondent Grace Gonzalez visited the coffee region around the town of Totogalpa to report on Nicaragua’s coffee plague.