San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Fungus Affects C.R. Coffee Crop

Costa Rica lowered its coffee output estimate 3.5 percent for the 2010-2011 coffee harvest, which began in October.

Due to a damaging fungus that affects coffee plants, the Costa Rican Coffee Institute (Icafe) estimates that it will produce 1.61 million bags of coffee this season instead of the 1.66 million bags that were projected earlier, Reuters reported.

Mycena Citricolor, more commonly known as “Ojo de Gallo,” is a tropical basidiomycete that has affected an increasing number of plants since the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Under wet and cloudy conditions, the delicate yellow fungus grows on the leaves of coffee plants. The affected leaves drop from the plants, leaving the coffee beans exposed to wind and rain, causing them to rot.

Costa Rica is not the only Latin American country in coffee trouble. Brazil, the leading producer of the bean, may drop to 36 million six kilo bags this season—a four year low.

Coffee experts in the United States expect coffee prices to reach $2.10 a pound, which is about $.90 higher than last year.

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