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NSF certifier officials and coffee roasters visit CATIE's International Coffee Collection

  • There is interest in establishing a certification mechanism for the genetic purity of coffee that is of interest to the industry and that brings benefits to producers organized in cooperatives.

November 26, 2019. The coffee roasters are the link that connects the coffee bean, produced on the farms, with the final consumer who drinks a cup of coffee. For these industrialists, the genetic purity of the coffee they roast is an important factor in ensuring the stability of the flavor profiles and other industrial attributes of the coffee they process and sell. This is why on November 16 an important group of small coffee producers and roasters from Peru, Nicaragua, Mexico, Germany and the United States visited the International Coffee Collection of CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center), whose diversity and genetic purity is a source of opportunities and an optimal base for the coffee industry.

"The visit to the International Coffee Collection showed roasters that there are endless opportunities for producers to access high-quality varieties through independent traceability mechanisms and that it is perfectly feasible to ensure the genetic purity of the coffee grown by the producers who supply them with roasted coffee," said Eduardo Somarriba, leader of CATIE's Agriculture, Agro-forestry and Livestock Program.

According to Somarriba, there is interest in establishing an independent verification mechanism at the level of small and medium producers, organized in cooperatives or individually, to certify the genetic purity of coffee, which is of interest to industrialists, in this case coffee roasters, and which also brings direct benefits to producers, who would use this service that would be voluntary and in accordance with the seed and plant laws of different countries.

"The goal is to develop a commercial business model in which producers participate, linked to roasters through good long-term contracts, where the quality and consistency of exported and roasted coffee is optimal to establish a representative base depreciations for added value, certified by NSF International, in terms of seed traceability and genetic stability; where CATIE would provide technical assistance to producers on their farms to ensure high yields, sustainability and compliance with the necessary environmental, social and industrial standards," commented Somarriba.

Gerry LaRue, of NSF International, said that the alliances created between producers eager to know with certainty the traceability of seeds and coffee and cocoa plants they plant as replacements for plants that have reached the end of the productive stage is an unprecedented movement, since in both agricultural industries the small and medium producer generally questions what is planted and how to know if what he bought has the genetic qualities he was looking for.

As part of the visit, the roasters and NSF officials also learned about the testing of agro-forestry systems with coffee by CATIE and as the day progressed, they visited the Biotechnology Laboratory and the Forest Seed Bank of the Center where they learned about the propagation of F1 hybrids by in vitro cultivation and the propagation of F1 hybrids by stakes.

After the visit, it was agreed that roasters will encourage their coffee bean supplier cooperatives to approach CATIE for information on how to improve practices in seedbeds, for acquiring seeds and genetic material, as well as plants for sowing, with high genetic purity and attractive prices.


Participants of the visit

  • Randy Vasquez, pasante del Programa Nacional de Innovación Agraria PNIA-INIA, Perú

  • Timothy Windmiller, CEO de Windmiller Development, Estados Unidos

  • Eber Mercedes Sánchez, general manager of the Laguna Condores Cooperative, Peru

  • Gilmer Martín López, president of the Laguna Condores Cooperative, Peru

  • Elmer Sánchez, general manager of CECAFE, Peru

  • Miguel Gómez, independent consultant, Nicaragua

  • José Juárez Varela, CEO of La Selva Café, Mexico

  • José María Juárez Villar, from La Selva Café and student of TEC Monterrey, Mexico

  • Stephen Cox, NSF International, United States

  • Gerry LaRue, NSF International, United States

  • Craig James, Barrie House, United States

  • Carla James, Barrie House, United States

  • Genenive Kappler, CO of Barrie House, USA

  • Josué Ruiz, CEO of Hochland Kaffee Hunzelmann, Germany

  • Timothy Windmiller, CEO of Windmiller Development, United States



More information:

Eduardo Somarriba
Agriculture, Agro-forestry and Livestock Program.
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Karla Salazar Leiva
Tecnología de Información y Comunicación
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