Loading... Please wait...


Hemileia Vastatrix

Posted by

La Roya, The Rust, or Hemileia Vastatrix, is a fungus that affects coffee plants particularly the Arabica species and has always presented a challenge for farmers of the crop.

In 2012 many parts of Central America including Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador declared a state of Emergency after coffee growers all around the region were devastated by La Roya. The airborne fungus attacks the leaves of plants turning them yellow and brown rendering them unable to photosynthesize and get nutrients from the sun, thus incapable of producing cherries and eventually the entire plant dies.

The rust has destroyed entire farms, leaving farmers without any resources and having to sell their property. Larger scale farms were had to cut labor significantly impacting the seasonal workers who rely on a big harvest for their livelihood found themselves out of work. The price of Central American coffee shot up due to the shortage accounting for about %15 of the world's production.

Climate changes are assumed to be a major cause of the surge in outbreaks of this fungus which have devastated entire farms in some areas. Warmer temperatures at higher altitudes create an extended wet season creating ideal conditions for the fungus to grow. Mono-cropping depletes the soil and compromises the plant’s immunity and health is also a likely contribution to the outbreak. In addition to losing their coffee crop, farmers who mono-crop, have no other crops to sell for income, or to feed themselves and their families, making the impact even more detrimental. By concentrating coffee crops, transmission of the fungus from one plant to another can happen much faster. Chemicals can be used to kill the fungus, but may be damaging to the soil as well as to neighboring farms. It is possible that the use of chemicals has actually caused this fungus to adapt and become more resistant to certain pesticides

So 5 years later how is Central America recovering?

Probiotics are being used in some areas to fight off the fungus and improve health of the plants, as well as educating farmers on more sustainable farming methods. Interestingly, organic farms seem to be a little more resilient to the rust than non-organic farms, suggesting that nature knows better how to fight disease than we do. The outbreak has had a huge impact on crops in 2013/14/15, things seem to be stabilizing a little now, but the situation is a huge concern, economically and environmentally, the epidemic will continue to impact farmers, communities, and the entire industry for many years into the future. 

There has been lots of research and experimentation on developing new fungus resistant varieties in order to restore the coffee industry in Central America, but again it will be many years before we see any significant results.

Clean Water

We’re excited to welcome back a coffee that has been a staple of Prosum’s offerings. This coffee is a great representation of our values and is one of our favorites. Cindy first traveled to Ethiopia in 2014 after connecting with an old high school friend who had been working in the coffee industry for many years. The trip [...]

Read More »

Socially Responsible Sourcing

Since the beginning, Prosum has been dedicated to sourcing coffee that been responsibly procured. Because every coffee we carry, comes from a different farm, with different operations, with which we have a different relationship, it's not quite fitting for us to use terms like direct trade, or fair trade. What's important to us that people [...]

Read More »

Davis Muwumba Art Show

Direct trade is all about relationships.We work directly with farmers and trusted partners to assure quality and ensure fair wages and fair treatment of workers. Our relationship with Kelli Muwumba, started as a casual encounter of vendors at Globalquerque, is now a business relationship supporting her husband, Ugandan artist, Davis Muwumba. Davis is from the town [...]

Read More »

Still Going Strong

Time flies when you're roasting coffee! Drinking coffee, blending coffee, bagging coffee, delivering coffee to local businesses. Needless to say we've been staying busy getting coffee from farms around the world into cups here in Albuquerque. A few updates:Prosum is 2 years old: On August 1st we celebrated our 2 year anniversary here at the [...]

Read More »

Prosum Roasters at Globalquerque 2015!

This is our second year serving coffee at Globalquerque and we're excited to be a part of this fantastic event! This year, we'll be serving pourovers, cold brew, hot chocolate and iced/hot teas. We will also have cookies and brownies for sale as well as a selection of our 12 oz Prosum coffees.Come enjoy all [...]

Read More »

Moving Pictures!

Hi everyone!Prosum Roasters was recently featured in a documentary series of Albuquerque startup companies! Our new friend, Allen, and his crew of merry videographers filmed this video in the shop over a few days time. We think it looks fantastic and is a great spotlight for our business.  We can't thank Parallax Vision Films enough [...]

Read More »

Roasting Days!

Do you like fresh coffee? I mean, like, REALLY fresh? Well, we roast coffee on Mondays and Thursdays, so a good time to pick up a fresh bag is Tuesdays and Fridays here at the shop! All of our bags have a "Roasted On" date, so you know it's fresh.  Name another roaster in town [...]

Read More »

Really Good Press

Hi everyone!Prosum Roasters was featured in an article by our new friend Patrick Zacharias!  Check out the article on Prosum here:https://escapethemonotony.wordpress.com/2015/05/08........ and also be sure to check all the other stories about some fantastic Albuquerque coffee shops you may have missed.The article is so good, we wanted to share Patrick's words and amazing photographs with [...]

Read More »

We're at the Railyards Market on Sundays until October!

Hi everyone! We just finished our first Sunday at the Railyards Market and it was a huge success! We are there every Sunday until October from 9am until 1pm. Come by and see us and check out fantastic local vendors in this beautiful, historic blacksmith building. We are serving hot coffee, cold brew coffee, iced [...]

Read More »

Recent Updates

Sign up to our newsletter

Connect with us: Facebook Twitter Instagram