Government spending millions to keep coffee cheap
The U.S. government is investing in research and efforts to eradicate a disease that is threatening coffee crops in Latin America.
Coffee is a priority in the United States—a $14 million-in-federal-funding priority.
The U.S. government just announced a $5 million research partnership on top of the $9 million it currently spends to combat a disease that is threatening the major industry throughout Latin American countries. The disease is a fast-spreading fungus known as 'roya,' or rust, that is causing widespread damage to coffee crops, affecting the entire market.
The $5 million in funding to the Texas A&M University World Coffee Research Center will go towards eliminating coffee rust and sustaining the livelihood of Latin American farmers.
The global coffee market has already been exacerbated by extreme weather changes, such as a drought in Brazil that caused prices to rise as much as 70 percent, according to a U.N. climate change report. Other crops grown throughout Latin America have similarly been threatened by disease and climate change, including limes and avocados.
While the U.S. has not seriously addressed issues of climate change, perhaps its investment in eradicating coffee rust will calm some fears of a global coffee shortage, especially for those whose well being depends on the crop's.
Less-serious concerns about the looming coffee shortage
Is there going to be a coffee shortage? Should I just give up now?
— tina nguyen (@tinamnop) May 21, 2014
I don't drink coffee but this coffee shortage has me worried about all the people that need it to function less crankily. Like DMV workers.
— Homa S. Woodrum (@woodrumlaw) May 21, 2014