World Coffee Research (WCR) will prioritise origin diversity and accelerating innovation in coffee agriculture, according to its 2021-2025 strategy, released on 12 February 2021.
WCR focuses on agricultural research and development (R&D) to help sustain the future of coffee in the face of the climate crisis and to bring innovations to improve farmer livelihoods. In 2020, it undertook a global consultation to collect feedback from the broader coffee industry to inform the scope and priorities of our agricultural R&D going forward to serve all stakeholders in its mission.
Because coffee agricultural research is bound by the timelines of tree crop growth, WCR typically plans its research agenda in five-year increments.
Titled “Enhancing Country Competitiveness to Bolster Origin Diversity,” the strategy prioritises supporting origin diversity in the face of the climate crisis through the acceleration of innovations in coffee agriculture. WCR says prioritising origin diversity ensures the coffee industry can access the unique flavours that coffee drinkers want and coffee businesses rely on, and distributes the economic benefits of coffee to coffee farmers in key origins.
The strategy’s primary objectives are to foster increases in productivity, profitability, and climate resilience, to enhance quality across major market segments, and to mitigate supply risk and advance against climate mitigation goals in several strategic geographies.
“The strategy anchors us in priority geographies and reaffirms our primary focus on coffee varieties for the long-term future of coffee,” says Jennifer “Vern” Long, CEO of WCR.
The strategy identifies 11 focus countries — five in Central America, three in Asia, and three in East Africa — that together are home to more than half of the world’s coffee farmers and account for more than 30 per cent of global exports. In these countries, WCR will build stronger, deeper partnerships along the value stream, while continuing to have strategic partnerships with advanced research organisations around the world and continuing to welcome and support knowledge-sharing globally.
“Our strategy focuses investment in the innovation gaps in coffee agricultural R&D to generate innovations that benefit farmers, and focus on challenges that are often invisible at the consumer end of the supply chain,” Long says.
“While they may be invisible to consumers, they are critical to the continued availability of coffees from diverse origins and driving opportunity for the farming communities who bring us these wonderful coffees.”
Read the strategy HERE.