World Coffee Research releases guidelines for coffee seed producers, nursery managers

World Coffee Research (WCR) and Promecafe have announced the launch of two new manuals of best practices for coffee seed producers and nursery managers, available in both English and Spanish.

The manuals are the latest in WCR’s effort to broaden awareness of and opportunity to address a hidden crisis in the coffee sector: A worldwide lack of competent systems for delivering high quality, healthy planting material to coffee farmers.

WCR says globally, most coffee seedlings produced for are weak, low yielding, and prone to disease.

“With each poor-quality seedling planted in their fields, farmers lock in lower production potential for decades to come,” says WCR CEO Vern Long.

“This powerfully reinforces the ‘poverty trap’ faced by smallholder farmers in particular. Improving nursery production practices has the potential to dramatically improve the productivity and profitability of coffee farms globally and to ensure that the genetic gains coming from new/improved varieties are able to reach farmers.”

WCR says there is a huge opportunity to support nurseries around the world to improve their production processes to produce healthy and genetically traceable plants. These improvements can vastly increase the possibility for farmers to not only select the right varieties for their farms but to make sure that the seeds or seedlings they are planting are all from the variety chosen, with the best physical and phytosanitary quality.

These training guides focus on supporting seed and plant producers to make improvements toward two essential goals:

  • Improving plant health resulting from healthy, strong seedlings reaching their maximum potential yield with a minimum mortality rate of seedlings planted. In this regard, the guides focus on describing appropriate seed production and nursery management techniques with good agricultural practices at each stage.
  • Improving genetic purity of the material, so that farmers may be confident that they are planting in their fields the variety they chose, with desirable genetic characteristics and no risk of cross-pollination. To do so, the guides include specific portions on traceability, ranging from the purchase of seeds or plants to produce mother plants to the sale or planting of the seeds or plants produced.

Reviews of the guides were conducted by experts from across Central America. The Regional Cooperative Program for the Technological Development and Modernization of Coffee Cultivation, or PROMECAFE, which represents ten coffee producing countries in Central America and the Caribbean, will be working to promote their use across the region.

The guides also supplement the WCR Arabica Coffee Varieties catalog describing the characteristics of 54 different arabica varieties, allowing coffee farmers to select the optimum varieties for their farms. The catalog is available at

The guides will be available for free download at

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