A global workshop to advance the implementation of the world’s conservation strategy for coffee genetic resources
Newly published conference paper details proceedings from international 2021 workshop on the conservation of coffee genetic resources
Safeguarding the world’s coffee genetic resources is essential for securing the sector’s long-term survival. A July 2021 workshop that included 54 participants from 16 countries across the globe focused on identifying strategies for better conservation and use of coffee genetic resources, and the proceedings from this event have just been published in a peer-reviewed conference paper in Acta Horticulturae.
This event served as a follow-up to the 2017 publication of the Global Conservation Strategy for Coffee Genetic Resources by Crop Trust and World Coffee Research (WCR), which details where and how coffee genetic diversity is being maintained globally, in addition to the challenges and opportunities that coffee genebanks presently experience.
As detailed in the Global Conservation Strategy, many of the primary genebanks for the world’s collection of coffee genetic resources currently sit in disrepair. This, in combination with the rapid rate at which the crop’s natural growing habitat is disappearing, has led to significant genetic erosion. The strategy outlines the cost of this erosion, what gaps exist in these collections, and why it’s critical to protect genetic resources, all to mobilize funding and support to protect coffee forever.
The 2021 workshop was hosted by Crop Trust in collaboration with WCR with support from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The resulting paper, which was originally presented at the International Society for Horticultural Science’s (ISHS) 2022 Symposium on Conservation and Sustainable Use of Horticultural Genetic Resources, complements the strategy and provides a comprehensive set of priority actions leaders must take to ensure that coffee’s genetic collections are maintained in perpetuity. These actions include financing, policy, partnership building, quality management systemization, capacity building, communication and advocacy, in situ and ex situ conservation, safety duplication, conservation of wild crop relatives, the establishment of a global platform, and more. WCR continues to work in partnership with Crop Trust to secure the future of coffee as one of the world’s most prominent and important crops.