Scientists from Plant Breeding and Genetics Laboratory in Seibersdorf, Austria, and at the Austrian University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (Universität für Bodenkultur Wien) want us to believe our coffee rust problems are due to low genetic diversity among cultivated plants in the Arabica variety. These geneticist say that the use of Plant Mutation Breeding can speed up the process of introducing changes to plants genetic make- up which will be the solution to fungal diseases like coffee leaf rust, and they will rapidly overcome natural plant resistance. These geneticist also stated “Plant mutation breeding is a fast way to develop improved crops with new and useful traits. They also mentioned that this method also offers a widely accepted, economical and environmentally sustainable approach to protect yield and ensure adequate quantities of pesticide-free crops.”
This is just another “silver bullet” for agriculture. Geneticists and farmers are constantly looking for the next CURE ALL SOLUTION like western medicine and the pharma industry use pills as the answer. They want to create another Band-Aid solution to modify the genes of a plant to make it supposedly disease free. They are using nuclear technology to shorten the time it would normally take to genetically engineer a plant. This is unproven science that is a reactive instead of a proactive approach.
Current as well as past decades of scientific proof show that ultimately these experiments fail time and time again when we go against Mother Nature. Current proof of these failures are GMO’s that contain a gene which creates a pesticide to protect plants from insects. However we are spraying more insecticides and fungicides than ever before. Insects and diseases will mutate to their environment. They are actually Mother Nature’s way of eliminating sick plants.
Science has created a paradigm that nature is broke and we have to fix it. When in reality it is us that has broken the system of Mother Nature.
As an agronomist and scientist myself we need to understand that all plants, animals and humans have a natural immune system. In today’s agriculture all we see are mediocre to sick plants which cannot express their genetic potential and we really don’t know what a True Healthy Plant looks like.
Scientists have studied two plant specific immune pathways which is the Systemic Acquired Resistance (SAR) pathway and Induced Systemic Resistance pathway. SAR is effective against secondary infection by a broad range of pathogens. SAR is characterized by, e.g., accumulation of the defense-related phytohormone salicylic acid (SA) and the increased expression of a number of pathogen-related (PR) genes, encoding defense-related proteins such as antimicrobial peptides (Arabidopsisthaliana PR-1).s.
What we need to know is that everything is connected and the soil health and the Host (Plants) have signaling communication capabilities which we have neglected called the soil microflora.
This is a world problem for coffee growers. I have seen it through my travels in the world working with farmers hand in hand on how to naturally mitigate and prevent these disease problems. This is a world problem and we need to change our agriculture practices. If you keep doing the same thing and expect different results, (by using the same soil environment, fertilization, pests and management practices) by only changing to a genetically modified coffee plant, months to years later you will see the same results and will have disease and pest problems again (coffee borer and coffee rust).
If we would have proactive mind set we would not need these sciences that only work for Band-Aid short term solutions and are not sustainable practices. Us as farmers need to go back to the basics of proper total nutrition, not just an NPK fix which only gives us nutrient deficient crops. WE ARE WHAT WE EAT.
If we would change the soil biology conditions by balancing nutrients and providing the soil and plants the food they need to flourish, they will create an environment that provides the nutrients and energy to optimize the immune systems of coffee and all plants. Supplying a totally balanced mineral nutrition to the plants provides the plants the proper energy and nutrients to produce their own phytonutrients like Asvertiral, Antozyines, Phonolics, Bioflavonoids, antifungal compounds, digestion inhibitors etc. that are all Plant Secondary Metabolites.
All plants naturally have the inherent genetic capability of immunity against disease and insect pressure.
If we would only Change our practices we would not see the Diseases and Insect Pressure that we see in today’s agricultural. This change in agricultural practices is in use in many areas of the world and is proven to be economically viable and sustainable.