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CATIE is recognized for its commitment to the conservation of coffee genetic resources

  • CATIE's coffee collection has served as a source of genetic resources for breeding and research programs worldwide.

July 27, 2020. CATIE  (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) international coffee collection is the only international collection that provides facilitated access under the agreement signed with the International Treaty (FAO) to the conserved germplasm and has served as a resource for many other genebanks and breeding and research programs. In recognition of this dedicated effort for the worldwide development of the bean, this collection was identified as one of the four "Origin Collections" in the global coffee conservation strategy, a work that was recently presented during the Global Coffee Genetic Resources workshop. 

In 2017, World Coffee Research (WCR) and The Global Crop Diversity Trust (CT), developed the Global Coffee Genetic Resources Conservation Strategy to understand the current status of coffee genetic resources conserved ex situ (off-site) and in situ (on-site), and identify the main constraints to their conservation and use. As a follow-up to this strategy, from July 12-15, 2021, both organizations developed a workshop with the objective of bringing together all stakeholders and identifying a way forward for the conservation and use of coffee genetic resources. 

Three CATIE experts from Africa, America, Europe and Asia participated in the workshop: William Solano, Dominique Dessauw and Rolando Cerda, who gave a presentation on the Center's international collection, showing the material conserved, its importance, as well as the results of the improvement and research programs and future plans to improve its conservation and use. 

"This was a successful event for CATIE and our name was highlighted several times as a model to follow in the way of managing the collection, because from the point of view of access to germplasm and compliance with standards, among other aspects, CATIE does things correctly," explained Solano. 

According to Sarada Krishnan, a scientist dedicated to the study of coffee and a member of the organizing team, the workshop fulfilled its main objectives: to foster global communication and build cooperative relationships, discuss and consider new challenges and opportunities in relation to strategy and update strategy as needed, and ensure complementarity.

"As identified in the Strategy, despite facing numerous constraints, the commitment of institutions and the hard work of staff have been crucial to the conservation of the diversity harbored by these field genebanks. However, most of it has been carried out independently, which means that many opportunities to share knowledge and experience have been missed. The development of a dialogue among the coffee genetic resources community is a necessity if we are to develop a truly global conservation system for coffee," said Krishnan. 

Based on the discussions of this workshop, a report will be generated that will provide recommendations for moving forward and identifying the next steps to follow, in addition, the possibility of building a network for the conservation and use of coffee genetic resources was raised, in order to seek funds, develop projects, build capacity and exchange information.


More information:

William Solano
Researcher in Plant Genetic Resources
Coffee and Cocoa Agroforestry and Plant Breeding Unit
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Written by:

Daniel Cedeño Ramírez
Communication Assistant
Information Technology and Communication
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