Webinar: The Number—Measuring Coffee's Investment Gap

Overview and discussion of Dr. Mywish Maredia's economic analysis

Underinvestment in R&D drives instability, consolidation, and loss—fewer farmers and fewer countries growing coffee, and greater supply risk.

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).

This webinar features a presentation from Michigan State University Professor Dr. Mywish Maredia, whose project measured the investment gap in coffee, and a conversation between her and WCR Chief Executive Officer Dr. Jennifer "Vern" Long to help the coffee industry better understand what this number means for its future.


Mywish Maredia, Professor and Economist, Michigan State University
Mywish Maredia is fixed-term professor of Development Economics in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University, and Interim Co-Director of the department’s Food Security Group. Her research has focused on the economic impacts of agricultural R&D, technology adoption, farmer willingness to pay for quality inputs, seed system transformation, agrifood system transformation with a focus on diet change and its implications on nutrition, and the economics of science and technology policies. She has led several research initiatives in Africa, Asia and Central America involving field experiments and extensive data collection. Her research on impact evaluation has focused on a wide range of topics, including land titling, nutrition and value chain, information and communication technologies (ICT), scaling up adoption of agricultural technologies, and the assessment of technology transfer models (extension).

Mywish has worked as a consultant with many international organizations, served as the Director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy from 2016-2020, Associate Director of the USAID funded Bean/Cowpea and Dry Grain Pulses CRSP (later renamed as the Legume Innovation Lab) from 2000-2009, and as a member of the Standing Panel on Impact Assessment of the CGIAR’s Science Council from 2006-2011. She was the recipient of the Outstanding Ph.D. Dissertation Award in 1994 from the American Agricultural Economics Association (now known as Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).

Vern Long, CEO, World Coffee Research

Vern Long is the Chief Executive Officer of World Coffee Research, the world’s first global, industry-driven collaborative agricultural R&D organization for coffee. A plant breeder by training, Long brings 25 years of experience in international agricultural research with a focus on smallholders, and deep expertise on genetic resources policy. Prior to joining WCR, Long served as the director of the Office of Agricultural Research and Policy at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Long has substantial experience convening diverse stakeholders — from industry, government and research institutions—to formulate a shared research agenda to address pressing challenges in agriculture. She received her PhD in plant breeding from Cornell University.

Alexa Heinicke, Senior Corporate Membership Manager, World Coffee Research

Alexa focuses on stewarding relationships with our 200+ member companies and engaging them in our work to demonstrate clear investment value. She is excited to recruit more companies for this collective investment that will benefit millions of smallholder farmers and is vital to the future of every business in our industry. Alexa has a range of experience in nonprofit fundraising and corporate investor relations, in both the U.S. and Europe. She has a degree from Babson College and is based in Munich, Germany.

This webinar corresponds with a white paper, published in June 2023, by World Coffee Research in collaboration with Dr. Mywish K. Maredia and Jose Maria Martinez of Michigan State University's Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, which develops an economic model in order to provide a rational basis for understanding the true size of coffee’s agricultural R&D gap in the face of rising demand and climate change. Click the link below to access the white paper.


Coffee's innovation crisis

Determining the size of the agricultural R&D investment gap for coffee amid growing consumer demand and the climate crisis