In 2021, World Coffee Research (WCR) celebrated 10 years of innovation and global leadership in coffee agriculture since its formation in 2011. Over the last decade, the organization has matured tremendously from being a scrappy startup into a global leader, defining a vision shared by farmers, coffee-producing countries, and roasters to leverage agricultural R&D for productivity, profitability, quality, and climate resilience.
“One improved variety can mean less plant disease, pesticide use, and deforestation—with more resilience, yield, taste, and profit benefiting more people—than anything else we can do. Not only does agricultural R&D have the best ROI, investing with peers brings both scale and expertise,” says Doug Welsh, Vice President of Coffee and Roastmaster at Peet’s and Immediate Past Chair of the WCR board.
The 2021 annual report includes details and highlights regarding the progress that WCR has made over the past year alongside our members and partners, in addition to a roadmap of our strategy and plans for upcoming work between 2021–2025.
2021 Global Highlights
This year, WCR:
- Worked pre-competitively alongside 241 companies and individuals from 27 countries to set shared goals and establish a critical foundation for a vibrant, sustainable coffee sector.
- Launched a new membership model and develop a five-year strategy with a restructure of our programs to focus on breeding, trials, nurseries, and global leadership to drive agricultural R&D with the goal of sustaining origin diversity and global supply of coffee.
- Worked in 9 of our 11 focus countries critical to origin diversity that make up 50% of the world’s 12.5 million family coffee farms and 30% of the global supply of coffee.
- Facilitated the first use of the Coffee-Breeding Program Assessment Tool (C-BPAT) by programs in Ethiopia and Uganda to influence public-sector investment in the coffee industry.
- Convened 10 institutions in 8 countries to initiate the collaborative development of a low-cost, world-class genotyping platform for coffee to accelerate the production of improved varieties.
- Involved 107 coffee companies in cupping 75 varieties/candidates/accessions.
- Launched a global investigation into the impact of environmental conditions on cup quality for different varieties and gain sensory feedback from 58 cuppers and Q graders from 38 companies from our F1 hybrids trial.
- Performed quality assurance evaluations of 139 seed lots producing 22 varieties in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Peru.
- Expanded seed sector work to Africa with country analysis of Ugandan arabica seed sector in three areas, conducted by Enveritas, including 152 nursery operators and 541 farmers interviewed.