- This value is equal to coffee rust control costs, including fungicides, labor and equipment. The saving contributes to profitability of producers.
Bogotá, March 23, 2018 (FNC Press Office) – Thanks to varieties resistant to diseases such as rust developed by the National Coffee Research Center (Cenicafé), the scientific arm of the FNC, Colombian coffee growers save over 200 million dollars a year.
This significant saving is reflected in lower use of plant health control products, less daily wages to apply them, and non-use of spraying equipment, among others, contributing to improve profitability of producers.
Development and use of resistant varieties makes Colombian coffee farming more competitive, because they shield it from rust epidemics like the one that recently affected producing countries in Central America.
“If one thinks about how much Colombian coffee growers save with the advantages of resistant varieties, we are talking about over 200 million dollars a year”, said Hernando Duque, the FNC Chief Technical Officer (CTO).
In Colombia there are currently 698,000 coffee hectares (77% of the total area) planted with rust-resistant varieties, which in the laboratory have also shown resistance to the Coffee Berry Disease (CBD), which fortunately has not arrived in the country.
“Rust-susceptible coffee varieties, such as Caturra, Típica, and also the so-called Catimores, even with good control, involve the risk of losses, since Colombia, for its climate and geographical location, features very favorable conditions for development of rust epidemics,” Duque added.
And although there are hardly over 200,000 hectares planted in susceptible varieties in Colombia, the FNC’s call on producers is to continue relying on the Extension Service, participate in technical training and visit participative research plots (IPAs) to see, through examples and actual demonstrations, the applicability of developments by Cenicafé.
80 years at the service of Colombian coffee growers
With 80 years working for Colombia’s coffee growers, Cenicafé began breeding research in 1967; and following a genetic diversity strategy, it has strengthened long-term resistance of its coffee varieties to diseases.
Unlike other countries, development of rust-resistant varieties in Colombia has been based on the multilineal strategy of compound varieties. “This is one of the most appreciated public goods for coffee growers, who have an institution that dedicates much of its scientific work to research to develop technologies that make coffee farming increasingly viable,” Duque noted. “It is important to say that resistance durability is stronger using multilineal varieties compared to mono-lineal”, Duque said.
The FNC CTO highlighted that, “Due to the great ability of rust to change and develop new strains, with higher pathogenic capacity, Cenicafé continues developing new coffee varieties to deal with these new strains. The rust we have today in Colombia is not the same that arrived in 1983.”
Cenicafé’s work has also focused on coffee production and processing aspects, such as production of resistant variety seeds, harvesting equipment, coffee post-harvesting with low water consumption, reuse pits, and wastewater treatment systems, including vegetation filters.