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World Coffee Research Launches WCR Verified Program

Sept. 7, 2017

The coffee supply chain begins before the farm—with the seed itself
Nursery photo

COLLEGE STATION, Texas. and ANN ARBOR, Mich. - World Coffee Research (WCR) and NSF International, an independent global organization committed to protecting and improving public health, announced the launch of the WCR VerifiedSM Program to certify coffee seed producers and plant nurseries. Until now, there has been no global standard for farmers and sponsors of coffee tree replanting programs to ensure that the purchased coffee plants are healthy and genetically pure. The lack of such a standard results in lower productivity and higher risk for farmers.

This new initiative is designed to address these challenges at the start of the coffee supply chain so farmers can have confidence that plants purchased from WCR VerifiedSM nurseries and seed farms will perform as expected. NSF International will audit and certify coffee seed producers and plant nurseries to the WCR VerifiedSM protocol.

By implementing and working with the WCR VerifiedSM technical protocols, producers on seed farms and nurseries will be able to maintain efficient management systems to ensure that their production has robust traceability and genetic purity. Through independent third-party audit reports, the producer can ensure critical points are being addressed and promote a culture of continuous improvement. The process is complemented with DNA analysis and traceability audits to ensure that genetic purity is maintained.

Coffee seed farms and nurseries certified to the WCR VerifiedSM protocol are evaluated independently based on the following criteria:

  • Nursery standards: The nursery follows best practices for raising healthy, disease-free plants.

  • Genetic purity: The coffee variety has been identified using WCR DNA fingerprinting so farmers can be certain they are buying the intended variety.

  • Education: The nursery provides information about the agronomic performance of different varieties to farmers so they can make informed choices.

  • Breeder’s rights: The nursery gives credit to plant breeders and their rights are respected.

Verified logo

WCR began work to develop the program in 2015 and engaged NSF International in 2017 to develop it into a third-party certification program. WCR appointed NSF International to act as the WCR VerifiedSM Program registrar, to manage the certification process and to oversee the integrity of the program to ensure transparency and independence. Audits and certification for coffee seed producers and nurseries will begin in Central America starting in September 2017, with expansion planned to coffee production areas in Mexico and South America, and then the program will be rolled out globally.

Seed farms and nurseries certified to the WCR VerifiedSM protocols are listed in an online directory tied to the World Coffee Research coffee varieties catalog at varieties.worldcoffeeresearch.org. The catalog currently features 38 varieties cultivated in Central America and will expand to Africa in 2018 and globally after that. Coffee farmers interested in sourcing high quality plants can consult the catalog and identify which varieties are offered by certified nurseries. This is the first time a global directory of varieties has been available for coffee. As the WCR VerifiedSM program and the WCR coffee catalog expand to cover new production regions of the world, it will become the industry’s most essential resource for coffee variety information.

The WCR VerifiedSM program is proud to have been chosen by Conservation International to test and verify the health and genetics of rust-resistant coffee trees that will continue to be provided by Starbucks to supply farmers in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador with vital trees for years to come. 

To learn more about WCR VerifiedSM or apply to become a certified producer, contact WCR at info@worldcoffeeresearch.org or NSF International’s office in Costa Rica at coffee@nsf.org or +506 2253 0102.

About World Coffee Research: World Coffee Research is a nonprofit collaborative research and development program of the global coffee industry to grow, protect, and enhance supplies of quality coffee while improving the livelihoods of the families who produce it.  The program is funded and driven by the global coffee industry, guided by producers, and executed by coffee scientists around the world. For more information, visit www.worldcoffeeresearch.org 

About NSF International: NSF International (nsf.org) is a global, independent organization that writes standards, and tests and certifies products for the food, water, health sciences and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment. Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center on Food Safety, Water Quality and Indoor Environment. NSF International provides expertise and accredited food services across all supply chain sectors, including agriculture, animal feed and welfare, produce, processing, distribution, dairy, seafood, quality management software, retail and restaurants.

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