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World Coffee Research formalises quality control

From the March 2016 issue.

World Coffee Research is working with nurseries in Central America to take the uncertainty out of crop planting.

Just about every culture has its own version of the children’s game, Grapevine, whereby a simple message is whispered from person to person until it reaches the end of the chain, usually significantly altered from its original form.

In the coffee world, it is suspected that a version of this game has been played unwittingly between nurseries and farmers for many years, as different varieties of seed have been passed through networks with no way of verifying whether they really are the varieties that the people using them believe them to be.

Now World Coffee Research (WCR) is launching a new program to make sure that the Grapevine effect does not impact coffee farmers.

The World Coffee Research Verified Program will introduce a formalised system of quality control for coffee nurseries to ensure that the planting material farmers are purchasing is in fact the material they intend to plant.

By verifying that different seeds are in fact the variety that they are being sold as, WCR aims to eliminate some of the uncertainty that goes along with crop planting and renovations, WCR’s Communications Director, Hanna Neuschwander, tells GCR Mag.

“The way that the coffee sector has worked for many years is that their nurseries have been very local operations and there has been no way for nurseries and farmers to be sure of the genetic purity of their seeds, nor has there been a system for ensuring excellent, healthy plants,” Neuschwander says. “So the farmers are not always necessarily sure of what they’re getting.”

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