How a coffee rust epidemic escalated in Chiapas, Mexico

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In 2012, a coffee leaf rust outbreak brought on by the fungus Hemileia vastatrix riddled crops in Mexico’s Chiapas region. The deep green leaves which had soaked up Mexico’s blazing sun and abundant rain in this altitudinous coffee region, were now blistered brown or shed completely. This is the work of the fungus Hemileia vastatrix. It can only survive by feeding on the coffee plant, and in turn stifles the ability of its host to feed itself through photosynthesis. The result is a year-on-year dwindling harvest.

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