WCR unveils strategy for the next five years
World Coffee Research (WCR) focuses on agricultural research and development (R&D) to help sustain the future of coffee in the face of the climate crisis and to bring innovations to improve farmer livelihoods. In 2020, WCR undertook a global consultation to collect feedback from the broader coffee industry to inform the scope and priorities of our agricultural R&D going forward to serve all stakeholders in our mission.
After completing the consultation, and meeting extensively with our board members and other experts, we’re excited to announce our new strategy for the next five years. (Because coffee agricultural research is bound by the timelines of tree crop growth, we typically plan our research agenda in five-year increments). Titled “Enhancing Country Competitiveness to Bolster Origin Diversity,” the strategy prioritizes supporting origin diversity in the face of the climate crisis through the acceleration of innovations in coffee agriculture. Prioritizing origin diversity ensures the coffee industry can access the unique flavors that coffee drinkers want and coffee businesses rely on, and distributes the economic benefits of coffee to coffee farmers in key origins. The strategy's primary objectives are to foster increases in productivity, profitability, and climate resilience, to enhance quality across major market segments, and to mitigate supply risk and advance against climate mitigation goals in several strategic geographies.
J. “Vern” Long, CEO of World Coffee Research, says, “The strategy anchors us in priority geographies and reaffirms our primary focus on coffee varieties for the long-term future of coffee.” The strategy identifies 11 focus countries—five in Central America, three in Asia, and three in East Africa—that together are home to more than half of the world’s coffee farmers and account for over 30% of global exports. In these countries, WCR will build stronger, deeper partnerships along the value stream, while continuing to have strategic partnerships with advanced research organizations around the world, and continuing to welcome and support knowledge-sharing globally.
Vern explains, “Our strategy focuses investment in the innovation gaps in coffee agricultural R&D to generate innovations that benefit farmers, and focus on challenges that are often invisible at the consumer end of the supply chain. While they may be invisible to consumers, they are critical to the continued availability of coffees from diverse origins and driving opportunity for the farming communities who bring us these wonderful coffees.”