By Stefanie Wallace
Feb. 20, 2013 – Central America is feeling the effects of coffee rust, with several countries recently declaring national emergencies over the fungus. Will this affect your business?
If you hadn't noticed, we have a new blogger on CanadianVending.com . Brian Martell of the Heritage Coffee Company has forayed into the blogosphere and will be writing for us monthly. Be sure to read his first entry here , and welcome Brian to the site.
Speaking of coffee, there's a significant crisis happening in Central America. Otto Molina Perez, the president of Guatemala, declared a national emergency on Friday over the spread of coffee rust affecting 70 per cent of Guatemala's crop.
The Globe and Mail reported last week that the fungus has been present in the region since the 1970s but experts are predicting the affect from this year's fungus will be the worst yet. Coffee rust affects coffee leaves with yellow spots that turn orange before the leaves eventually fall off. Molina ordered the release of more than $14 million to help 60,000 small farmers take the necessary measures to prevent, treat and stop the disease from spreading. The president of the National Coffee Association of Guatemala told the Globe and Mail that 100,000 direct jobs have been already lost.
This country isn’t the first to fall victim to the fungus. Honduras and Costa Rica also declared national emergencies in January due to coffee rust, and about 60 per cent of Panama's crop has also been affected. The Salvadoran Coffee Council in El Salvador said the impact of coffee rust is the worst the country has seen in 30 years.
Coffee producers in the area are planning to meet Feb. 27 and 28 to discuss strategies to fight the fungus. It will be interesting to see how the outbreak of coffee rust will impact pricing and imports. Will this crisis affect your business?
On a lighter note, take a look at the innovative machine that could be coming to Vancouver this year. The city is full of scenic views and lots of attractions, and with a mild climate, there's no better way to explore and navigate through the city than by bicycle. Later this spring, the city will decide whether to launch a bike-share system via Alta Bicycle Share, and has already paid a company to develop a bike helmet vending machine.
The city awarded SandVault Group a contract in November and has paid the company $50,000 to develop a solar-powered prototype of the machine. Users simply swipe their card, select the appropriate size and preferred style on a keypad and remove a helmet from the dispenser, according to MetroNews.ca. The helmets will be equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags to ensure they are not rented out again until they have been properly checked and cleaned. SandVault was awarded the prototype contract, but the city is still exploring options and suppliers for helmet distribution.
It's an interesting project. Check out more details and an inside scoop here.
As we near the end of February, I'm pleased that spring is around the corner. With warmer weather comes the Spring 2013 edition of Canadian Vending and Office Coffee Service magazine, and as always, we'd love to hear what you'd like to read about. Let us know what you'd like to see in our pages or online, by leaving a comment below, e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @CanadianVending.