Coffee farmers typically have very few choices about which varieties are available for them to plant. Their choices are limited by forces beyond their control—historical accident and colonial history on the one hand, and whether their country has a tradition of coffee research and development on the other. These constraints mean that coffee producers often plant seeds that are susceptible to disease or don’t perform optimally in their area, leaving them doubly vulnerable. Until now no comprehensive effort had ever been made to locate the best-quality coffee varieties from around the globe and make them available to producers in different countries.
35 varieties from around the world. 60+ test plots in 23 countries. 50,000 plantlets.
Coffee Research has gathered 35 top-performing coffee varieties from 11
suppliers around the world and replicated them in sterile in-vitro
cultures at the Agristarts phytosanitary lab in Florida. The
varieties—most of which have never been tested on a broad basis—are
being distributed to 23 coffee growing countries for planting on test
On each plot, an exhaustive list of variables about the
plot and the performance of each plant will be measured—including plant
vigor, productivity, coffee leaf rust and other disease and pest
incidence, bean characteristics, bean chemistry, and final cup quality.
Each country can monitor how the different varieties perform under local
conditions. The best-performing varieties can then be selected,
multiplied and distributed to producers to increase supplies of quality
coffee for those countries.
The IMLVT represents a coffee industry first. Never
before has a global variety exchange taken place on this scale in the
coffee industry. Never before have most countries had in their
possession so many different varieties. In addition, more information is
being made available to guide farmers about the best variety for their
specifc needs, with the goal of improving profitability. This will
result in widespread production and quality increases in as little as 5
years, and contributing to more sustainable farmer livelihoods and a
stronger coffee sector.
In addition, the trial will serve as a
platform to monitor disease movement and levels, interaction between
environmental factors and quality, and climate trends.