1 May 2013

Robério Oliveira Silvasrc="/clr/elsalvadorhp.jpg">The Executive Director of the International Coffee Organization (ICO), Mr Robério Oliveira Silva visited five Central American countries affected by the spread of coffee leaf rust, in accordance with ICC Resolution 451. During his mission, he had the chance to assess the extent of the damage, and to discuss with local and international authorities the set of solutions and concrete actions needed to stop the disease in the shortest possible time.

At the start of his official visit, Mr Silva attended the 1st International Coffee Leaf Rust Crisis Summit in Guatemala from 18 – 20 April 2013, an event organized by World Coffee Research and PROMECAFE and attended by global coffee traders, coffee associations and leading scientists. The financial community was represented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank. An important outcome of the Summit was the establishment of an emergency rust response unit partially funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Inter-American Institute of Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), and private partnerships through the Guatemala based PROMECAFE agency. Press release

After Guatemala the Executive Director travelled to Honduras, where he met the Presidential Designate, Mr Samuel Reyes, Government officials and representatives of the main coffee authorities (Ahprocafe, Anacafeh, La Central y Uniocoop, Adecafeh, Senasa, Oirsa, Conacafe). Mr Silva visited the offices of Ihcafe and met representatives of the Board of Management of Cohep. He also attended a meeting with officials of the Banco Central de Honduras, Comisión de Banca y Seguros, Banhprovi and presidents and other representatives of the Unions. He then toured the coffee area of Marcala, La Paz, and visited coffee farms affected by the disease. Declaration from the Presidency of Honduras

Mr Silva then travelled to El Salvador where he took part in a regional tour to assess the incidence of the leaf rust disease, which according to official sources is estimated at 40% of the crop. The State Department indicated that the purpose of the ICO Executive Director’s visit to the region was to decide on the actions to be taken to find a solution to the disease. Mr Silva then attended meetings with various Ministers including the Economic Minister, the Vice-Minister for Agriculture Mr Hugo Alexander Flores and the Ambassador to the UK H.E. Mr Werner Romero to exchange ideas on the situation of the coffee harvest, coffee being the main product traditionally exported by El Salvador. News article

In Nicaragua, he met H.E. Mr Daniel Ortega, President of the Republic, who stressed the need to go beyond the sole issue of coffee leaf rust and analyse on a holistic basis the current weaknesses and opportunities for the coffee industry both in individual countries and at the regional level. The Executive Director also had meetings with the Ministers for Economic Development, Industry and Trade, Agriculture and Cooperative Economics, Mr Orlando Solorzano, Mr Ariel Bucardo and Mr Pedro Haslam. On 29 April he discussed the issue with representatives from all sectors of the Nicaraguan coffee industry, followed by a visit to Matagalpa where he spoke at first hand to representatives of several coffee cooperatives. News article

Mr Silva went to Costa Rica in the last stage of his visit, where he visited the Costa Rican Coffee Research Centre accompanied by the Executive Director of ICAFE, Mr Ronald Peters and analysed the situation in the region with the authorities at the Ministry of Agriculture. More information l Photos

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