For the last 3 years, the Rogers Family Company has been in a life or death struggle against an aggressive coffee killer called, Roya or Coffee Rust.
Coffee Rust or Roya, is a fungus which causes powdery yellow spots to appear on the leaves. The leaves eventually turn brown and fall. Severe defoliation by Coffee Rust weakens the coffee plant, reduces yield and can eventually kill the coffee plant.
To fight this killer we started, the Rust Trust.
The Rust Trust, is a collaborative effort between us and small farms throughout Mexico, to replace infected coffee trees with healthy, more resilient coffee trees.
The two primary goals of the Rust Trust are:
- Rescue the farmers who lost their plantations from rust infection in 2012.
- Increase the quality of life of small farmers through more productive plantations.
Not a small undertaking considering a 1/2 billion pounds of coffee has already been lost in South America.
As of August 2014 we have produced over 1 million new coffee trees on 8 farms.
It all starts in a nursery, where hundreds of thousands of little coffee tree seedlings are propagated, and wait to be transported and planted on viable farms.
The next step is proper training.
Working with local farmers and our lead ag team, we put together a workshop program that teaches farmers about fungicide, fertilization and methods for establishing a new plantation.
As of February 2014, our partner farms have grown the following numbers of new trees:
- Hamburgo & Chiripa - 259,534
- Mexiquito - 80,000
- San Francisco - 20,000
- Final - 200,000
- Peru Paris - 100,000
- San Nicolas - 200,000
- La Paz - 100,000
- Acapulco - 100,000
As a community, we are tackling this devastating fungus and these hard-working farmers are giving their time to help each community rise again.
Without their dedication these efforts would be pointless.
The most important lesson we have learned is that 50% of our success is made up good plants, good products and financing. The other 50% is technical assistance throughout the process to guarantee success.
We don't just walk away.
The fight against Roya is tough, and the global effect of this fungus is more than most understand, but we are taking this battle right to the source and we will win.
If you are curious how you can help, know that every purchase of our coffee has a direct financial effect on our ability to combat this killer, and helps the small farmers survive until their farms are once again coffee producing.