Prof. Stuart McCook, Department of History, spoke to several local CBC Radio stations on Monday to discuss his new book entitled, Coffee Is Not Forever: A Global History of the Coffee Leaf Rust.
The book traces the history of the coffee rust fungus, which has caused extensive destruction to coffee plantations throughout Central and South America in recent decades. McCook explained that several interconnected factors are to blame.
He noted that climate change has meant the end of once-predictable weather patterns in the coffee tropics so that even small increases in temperature or moisture cause the fungus to multiply and spread. At the same time, government supports for many of these farmers have been cut, forcing them to cut back on measures to slow the spread of the fungus.