coryforsenate wrote:I imagine this is going to hurt organic growers even harder.
Definitely. This was specifically addressed at the Boston SCAA Symposium last week. Copper appears to be the most effective fungicide for leaf rust, but is incompatible with organic certification. Affected growers may need to choose between giving up organic certification or giving up coffee.
In the long term, cross-breeding for more disease-resistant (and good-tasting) hybrids is already under way, but will probably take years. A fundamental problem throughout the coffee growing world is an extraordinary lack of genetic diversity in the varieties currently cultivated. Hundreds, if not thousands, of other varieties exist (more in Madagascar than anywhere else!), but few are suitable for a good cup of coffee. The search is under way. See http://worldcoffeeresearch.org/