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Taiwanese experts help fight coffee disease in Latin America

2013/12/09 12:48:07

Taiwanese experts examine coffee bean plants in Guatemala in October. (Photo courtesy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Embassy in Guatemala)

Taipei, Dec. 9 (CNA) Taiwanese plant pathologists are sharing their expertise at an international conference in Honduras, which is being attended by representatives from Central American countries that are facing the problem of coffee disease, according to the organizers.

Starting Monday, participants at the five-day international conference will discuss the issue and visit coffee farms to get a firsthand look at the effects of coffee rust disease, the International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF) said.

The government-funded TaiwanICDF said it organized the event in collaboration with the International Regional Organization for Plant and Animal Health (OIRSA), which provides technical assistance in agriculture.

Through the discussions, the participants hope to come up with a regional strategy to deal with coffee rust disease, TaiwanICDF said.

The disease, which primarily attacks Arabica coffee bean plants, is caused by a wind-borne fungus that appears as powdery orange spores on the underside of the leaves that eventually fall off, severely weakening or killing the tree.

Experts from the major coffee growing countries of Central America are attending the conference, with the goal of trying to find a solution to the problem, which has severely affected the region, TaiwanICDF said.

Belize, Panama, Nicaragua, and Guatemala, Taiwan's diplomatic allies in the region, are among the affected countries, TaiwanICDF said.

The participants include representatives from those four countries, as well as Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Columbia and Brazil, the organization said.

(By Elaine Hou)