Constituted in 2001, TaCRI is a private institute for demand-led research for development. Previously, research was led by the government and growers considered that this research did not address their most pressing problems: issues of low coffee productivity, high costs of production and low coffee prices. Growers wanted research which adressed these issues to improve the profitability of coffee growing.
Arabica coffee is vulnerable to coffee rust and coffee berry disease. Each of these diseases can cause yield losses of upto 80%. Growers spent more than 50% of their production costs to control these two diseases, contributing to high costs of production. TaCRI's immediate effort was to address the management of these two diseases by developing resistant varieties. We have been very successful, developing 19 arabica coffee hybrids which combine high productivity with good beverage quality and resistance to these two diseases. That is an outstanding accomplishment.
For robusta coffee, the pressing problem was coffee wilt disease. The disease kills the robusta tree and therefore reduces production by 100%. We have produced four robusta coffee varieties that combine resistance to coffee wilt disease with good beverage quality and high productivity. In total, we have 23 improved varieties now available for small coffee growers.
The challenge we are facing now is the accelerated multiplication and distribution of these high yielding varieties of seedling to meet the high demand from growers.
James M. Teri, TaCRI Chief Executive Director