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Future-proofing coffee plants to resist climate change

Plants that help farmers grow

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Future-proofing coffee plants to resist climate change

When we enjoy a delicious cup of NESCAFÉ it can transport us to lush, planted fields where coffee is grown and harvested. For the farmer, however, the situation can be more complex. Climate change can reduce the volume of coffee grown with less fertile land and water shortages. Coffee trees naturally take a long time to produce and can be more vulnerable to disease in harsher conditions. Since 2010, NESCAFÉ helps farmers grow more resilient crops by distributing plantlets that can resist the effects of climate change. It’s a step forward that helps farmers grow more resilient coffee now and for the future.

Coffee plantlets in pots
Never fear the plantlets are here

The NESCAFÉ scientists in Tours, France, started working on Arabica and Robusta coffee plant science back in 1986. Over the course of several decades, researchers tested the best performing plant varieties in real life conditions on local experimental farms across the globe.

With 50% higher yield per tree, selected varieties can help reduce the CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) footprint of the green coffee beans up to 30%, because more coffee is produced using the same amount of land, fertiliser, and energy.  

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When the right choice is a good choice

Since 2010, NESCAFÉ Plan farmers received over 250 million coffee plantlets and by 2030 NESCAFÉ aims to have distributed 400 million coffee plantlets. Besides helping farmers to improve productivity and renovate their coffee trees with improved varieties, plantlets also help farmers use their land better.

In Colombia, between 2010 and 2012, climate change and rising temperatures made coffee trees vulnerable to leaf rust disease. Faced with hard choices, and the possibility of clearing native forests to plant more coffee, farmers with NESCAFÉ’s support avoided taking drastic measures by renovating their farms with improved disease-resistant coffee plantlets.

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“Since 2010, NESCAFÉ Plan farmers received over 250 million coffee plantlets and by 2030 NESCAFÉ will have distributed 400 million coffee plantlets.”

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We don’t just help grow coffee we help families grow

In Mexico, during the coffee rust crisis of 2012-2015, a fungus devastated crops and threatened livelihoods. NESCAFÉ distributed more than 37 million new disease-resistant coffee plantlets to over 33,000 farmers, and helped farmers tend to their new plantlets. With these new plantlets, farmers doubled their yields in key regions like Chiapas and Veracruz.

Rows of coffee plants
It's not the size of the farm, It’s how you use it

Not all coffee farms are created equal. NESCAFÉ collaborates closely with farmers to understand their specific challenges in their region. Some coffee trees grow tall up to two to three metres, making it difficult to care and harvest them.

In Tezonapa, Veracruz Mexico, NESCAFÉ agronomists helped improve yields by supplying smaller coffee trees. Where 600–700 plants could fit in a single hectare, farmers could now fit 1,200–1,300, practically doubling production on the same land. In addition, where the older plants took up to three years to produce coffee, the newer plants started producing after just one year. 

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A brighter future in every cup

Every cup of NESCAFÉ contributes to the effort of those who are working to create the next generation of coffee varieties that support a better future for farmers, coffee, and their environment. With the development of next generation drought-resistant varieties emitting less CO2 per kg of green coffee, the future looks even brighter.

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