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Case study:
CIRAD Partnership, Mexico and Nicaragua

New Varieties and Qualitivity

Generally speaking, highly productive farming systems have delivered lower-quality coffees, and high-quality agroforestry lower productivity. To simultaneously meet the demands for productivity, quality and sustainability, innovation in tree stock is critical.

CIRAD, the renowned French agricultural research institute, has conducted research and plant breeding since 1990 to create hybrid coffee trees that combine the resistance and qualities of varieties from Ethiopia (the country of coffee’s origin) with the productivity and local adaptability of Central American varieties. The resulting hybrids bear fruit earlier than traditional varieties. It also has an increased productivity of 40-50% and more body, acidity and aroma, which translate to equal or better quality. That’s qualitivity!

ECOM and CIRAD formed a joint venture in 2009 to produce and distribute these new varieties through Somatic Embriogenesis, a technique used to propagate these varieties on a massive scale. ECOM built two reproduction facilities in Mexico and Nicaragua, that are highly sophisticated, high-tech laboratory environments in which tissue culture is reproduced to create seedlings which are then propagated in nurseries.

ECOM now produces more than one million seedlings per year in each of these labs, and then propagates the seedlings through nurseries that bring the new varieties to farmers.

The resulting hybrids bear fruit earlier than traditional varieties, have 40-50% increased productivity, and have more body, acidity and aroma which translate to equal or better quality.