La Roya

Untitled 1The La Roya Recovery Project assists small-scale farmers with training to eradicate the coffee fungus “la roya”, and improve coffee crops and soil conditions.

There are now 541 farmers participating in the program, producing effective micro-organisms or EMs, a probiotic for plants, up from 383 and 95%, over 500 of them, are spraying with Effective MicroOrganisms. EM applications began in 2014 and we will be monitoring results for the next harvest starting October 2015 to March 2016. We are happy to report the coffee plants receiving EMs have begun to flower, indicating a good future harvest! We have also started pruning, pulp application, and land contouring practices, and will keep you up to date as we progress.


Untitled 3“I wasn’t motivated when I first started receiving training. I felt as if it was a waste of time. However, with encouragement from the promoters and coordinator, I continued. I started preparing my garden, and with the help of my promoter I sowed my vegetable seeds. Now I don’t buy vegetables. I only use the vegetables in my garden. And my son and I eat six eggs a week from my two hens.”


Untitled 2“During the 2014 harvest, production was so low and nearly all my plants lost their leaves. I harvested about 600 lbs of coffee in total for that year. This year I have applied EMs to half my crops, pruned my shade trees, applied pulp and carved terraces. During only January and February of the 2015 harvest, I have already harvested 500 lbs of coffee and much more is expected in March and April. I am very happy with all this as my income supports nine children.”


Having just returned from Guatemala I am happy to report that the leaves on the coffee plants that were sprayed with the Effective Micro-organisms are full, moist and with no signs of La Roya. There are small, medium and large buds appearing on the branches of the trees that had been sprayed with EMs previously. It appears as if La Roya has been arrested at least on those farms that employed the EMs. Now, attention is being paid to replenishing the soil.

Rich compost and ash provide nutrients and minerals lost from the harvest. “Live Barriers” such as fruit trees and shade plants protect against high winds and rain. “Hard Barriers” such as rocks divert leakage from the runoff of non-organic farms. Level curves and terracing protect against erosion and cover cropping will reintroduce nitrogen into the depleted soil.

Suggested Reading