Wild Coffee Under Threat—Why That Matters


Editorial Policy

Published on

Last updated on

Photo: World Coffee Research

[G]ermplasm—no, not something out of a Ghostbusters movie—is the collection of raw material for crop development. It’s also one of the coffee industry’s most important strategies for creating coffee plants that are able to survive the worst climate change has to throw at us.

World Coffee Research uses germplasm to pick desired characteristics (such as disease resistance and drought tolerance) from wild coffee species and breed it with domesticated Arabica plants to create F1 hybrids. Having a large bank of genetic material from which to pull is essential for programs like this to succeed.

A new study published in the scientific journal, Science Advances, found that at least 60 percent of wild coffee species are under threat of extinction. Of the 124 coffee species known to science, 13 are critically endangered, 40 are endangered, and 22 are considered vulnerable.

Grafting coffee in Madagascar. Photo: World Coffee Research

“At a time when so much focus is on addressing food security and livelihood income shortfalls for farmers, it is of great concern that the raw materials for possible solutions are highly threatened,” according to the study.

The study suggests that if we are to conserve the coffee industry, we need to conserve wild coffee to maintain a biodiversity bank for generations to come.

Share This Article

Fresh Cup Staff

Join 7,000+ coffee pros and get top stories, deals, and other industry goodies in your inbox each week.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Other Articles You May Like

The Undying Popularity of Washed Coffees

There are many ways to process coffee, and new techniques are constantly being tried and tested. Despite this, the popularity and demand for washed coffees remain strong.
by Bhavi Patel | November 15, 2023

Cultivating the Future of Coffee: The Crucial Need to Breed New Varieties

Climate change has drastically impacted coffee yields, but innovations in coffee agriculture could be the industry’s saving grace.
by Ashlen Wilder | November 10, 2023

A New Chapter for Taza Presidencial, A Bolivian-Born Coffee Quality Competition

Quality-focused competitions have fueled coffee improvements in Bolivia. But when government funding ran out for Taza Presidencial, local coffee professionals made sure the competition stayed alive.
by Sandra Elisa Loofbourow | September 8, 2023

Direct Trade via Direct Message: How Instagram is Facilitating a New Kind of Coffee Connection

One morning in 2022, I walked into work to find an envelope of green coffee samples from a source I wasn’t familiar with. My boss told me they came from a Costa Rican coffee…
by Fionn Pooler | August 30, 2023