World Coffee Research and Promecafe have launched two manuals of best practice for coffee seed producers and nursery managers.
The manuals are the latest in World Coffee Research’s (WCR’s) effort to broaden awareness of what it describes as a hidden crisis in the coffee sector – a lack of competent systems to deliver high-quality, healthy planting material to coffee farmers.
Globally, most coffee seedlings are weak, low yielding, and prone to disease, WCR said.
“With each poor-quality seedling planted in their fields, farmers lock in lower production potential for decades to come,” said WCR CEO Vern Long.
“This reinforces the poverty trap faced by smallholder farmers. Improving nursery production practices has the potential to dramatically improve the productivity and profitability of coffee farms and ensure that the genetic gains coming from new and improved varieties reach farmers.”
WCR said there is a “huge opportunity” to support nurseries around the world to improve processes to produce healthy and genetically traceable plants.
These improvements can “vastly increase” the likelihood that farmers select the right varieties and make sure that seeds or seedlings they plant are really are their chosen variety and of the best physical and phytosanitary quality.
The training guides focus on supporting seed and plant producers to make improvements in two areas. The first is improving plant health as a result of using healthy seedlings that will reach maximum potential yield with minimum mortality rate. The second is improving the genetic purity of material, so that farmers are confident that they are planting the variety they chose, with desirable genetic characteristics and no risk of cross-pollination.
Reviews of the guides were conducted by experts in Central America. PROMECAFE, which represents 10 coffee producing countries in Central America and the Caribbean will promote their use in the region.
The manuals are available to download free at worldcoffeeresearch.org/guias. The guides are available in both English and Spanish.