Mobilizing research on coffee's critical challenges
The problems facing coffee producers and coffee businesses are huge—bigger than any single industry or organization can tackle alone. Many of coffee's challenges extend beyond WCR's core focus area of variety improvement, but they are critically important for sustainable agricultural development. Development donors and private sector investors are eager to include coffee in their portfolios and want to make their investments as impactful as possible, but lack guidance and direction on which problems should be prioritized.
Through its "global leadership" function, WCR works to elevate the need for additional investment in coffee R&D and to generate consensus on the most important challenges facing coffee for which agricultural R&D can provide solutions, and to mobilize support for research to address these challenges.
How does it work?
- WCR works with economists to quantify the coffee R&D investment gap and generate estimates of what each country's "fair share" of investment is.
- WCR works with national partners, research institutions, and the global industry to define shared priorities and elevate the most important questions for which research and funding is required.
- WCR uses its influence and harnesses the collective power of its member companies around the world to mobilize public and private sector investment toward defined priorities, or engages relevant experts to tackle the topic.
Underinvestment in R&D drives instability, consolidation, and loss—fewer farmers and fewer countries growing coffee, and greater supply instability. WCR has quantified the need for $452 million more per year to be invested in coffee agriculture R&D to preserve origin diversity across many countries and support farmers to adapt to climate change. Over 80% of this investment should be channeled to Africa ($190 million) and Latin America + the Caribbean ($176 million).1
1 Current investment from all sources is about $115 million USD per year. To meet consumer demand and retain origin diversity amid climate change, a total investment of $567 million USD per year is needed. Source: Maredia, M. and Martinez, J. (2023). How much should the world invest in agricultural R&D for coffee amid growing consumer demand and climate change challenges? [pre-publication white paper].
Current advocacy efforts
World Coffee Research is a registered lobbying organization and engages in advocacy activities in the U.S. in close coordination with the National Coffee Association, in order to secure deeper levels of public investment for coffee agricultural research aligned with the global shared agenda.
For U.S.-based coffee companies interested in driving legislative action in support of coffee agricultural R&D, please read more about coffee advocacy priorities below, and contact WCR to get involved.
For any company interested in supporting the Coffee Plant Health Initiative Act, WCR can provide template letters for sending to your Member of Congress in support of cosponsoring this legislation.
For Congressional staffers interested in understanding more about why coffee cares about the Coffee Plant Health Initiative Act and the Farm Bill, please see the below resources.
2022 U.S. Advocacy priorities and wins (117th Congress)
- Resource: Coffee R&D Priorities 2022
- Resource: Why Coffee Cares about CPHIAA
- Resource: Why Coffee Cares about the Global Food Security Act
- Win! Global Food Security Act passed with increased funding and language we supported regarding smallholder farmers, international markets, and greater accountability for research spending
- Win! Congressional budget passed with an increase in funding for a USDA research grants program that can benefit coffee agriculture
- Win! Congressional budget passed with accompanying language encouraging USAID to fund coffee agricultural research
- Win! CPHIAA introduced and built momentum for a re-introduction in 2023 around the Farm Bill