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Boquete, Huehuetenango, Narino, Sulawesi, Yirgacheffe. Specialty coffee has flourished in a golden age of diverse geographic origins. Yet the rich diversity of coffee origins is severely threatened. The price crisis has helped highly efficient producing countries like Brazil and Vietnam to consolidate their advantage in global production. Other origins are struggling to keep up, and are in danger of being left behind. Storied coffee origins like Kenya, Costa Rica, and El Salvador have seen severe declines in production over the last 3 decades, and others may see their production contract significantly in the coming decade. The future of origin diversity depends on many factors—from national policies to roaster demand—but it will also indisputably be impacted by innovations in coffee agriculture that have the potential to improve both quality and production for diverse origins. This lecture by WCR CEO Vern Long will explore the role of different types of coffee agricultural R&D—including agronomy research and variety development—in shoring up origin diversity, taking into account the powerful economic, demographic, and climactic factors that are driving rapid change. The lecture will consider examples from other crops, as well as the tradeoffs of different technological solutions.

Presented By:

Jennifer "Vern" Long
Chief Executive Officer, World Coffee Research

Hanna Neuschwander
Director of Communications World Coffee Research
Sat, May 2, 2020 · 11:00 AM EDT
Jennifer "Vern" Long
Chief Executive Officer, World Coffee Research
Vern Long is the Chief Executive Officer of World Coffee Research, the world’s first global, collaborative agricultural R&D organization for coffee. A plant breeder by training, Dr. Long has 25 years of experience in international agricultural research and is an expert on genetic resources policy. Her work has focused on convening diverse stakeholders—from industry, national governments, international agricultural research centers, university scientists, and farmers—to formulate shared crop research agendas to improve productivity among smallholder farmers from low- and middle-income countries everywhere from Central America, to West, East, and Southern Africa, to South Asia.
Hanna Neuschwander
Director of Communications, World Coffee Research
Hanna is the communications director for World Coffee Research, the only organization in the world applying advanced agricultural science for coffee on a world-wide, collaborative basis. She writes and speaks globally about efforts to secure the future of coffee agriculture. Her writing and commentary has appeared in the Time Magazine, the Washington Post, CNN, BBC, and many others. She is the author of Left Coast Roast, a guidebook to coffee roasters on the west coast.
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