AP NewsBreak: Brewing troubles from coffee fungus

Associated Press
Coffee beans damaged by the roya fungus in San Gaspar Vivar, Guatemala
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In this Feb. 9, 2013, file photo, small coffee producer Hector Perez show coffee beans damaged by the roya fungus in San Gaspar Vivar, Guatemala. The U.S. government is stepping up efforts to help Central American farmers fight a devastating coffee disease _ and to keep the price of your morning cup down. A fungus called coffee rust has already caused more than $1 billion in damage across the Latin American region. It is especially deadly to Arabica coffee, the bean that makes up most high-end, specialty coffees, and it is already affecting the price of some of those coffees in the United States. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government is stepping up efforts to help Central American farmers fight a devastating coffee disease — and hold down the price of your morning cup.

A fungus called coffee rust has caused more than $1 billion in damage across Latin American. The fungus is especially deadly to Arabica coffee — that's the bean that makes up most high-end, specialty coffees.

It's already affecting the price of some of those coffees in the United States.

The U.S. Agency for International Development is concerned about the economic security of small coffee farms abroad.

On Monday, agency head Raj Shah plans to announce a $5 million partnership with Texas A&M University's World Coffee Research center to try to eliminate the fungus.

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