The Objectives

The Project

Devise new ways of tree breeding, leading to productivity and sustainability for perennial tree crops

– Address coffee adaptation to current and future climate conditions
– Provide a Bioinformatic toolkit
– Research Arabica F1 hybrids and Arabusta hybrids grown in the end-user environment
The Project

Improve sustainable coffee production and profitability at farmer and industry level

– Assess the agronomic performance, profitability and cup quality
– Promote a large-scale production, distribution and use of elite Arabica Hybrids
– Develop a scaling-up plan of the novel BREEDCAFS breeding strategy that ensure dissemination beyond the timeframe of the project
– Manage, communicate and disseminate work carried out and project activities outcome

The Ambitions

  1. Develop an unprecedented thorough knowledge of coffee physiological responses against environmental stress under agroforestry conditions and its use for developing an innovative molecular assisted breeding strategy.
  2. Design a resilient, inclusive, and market-integrated Agroforestry System based on Coffee Hybrids- AFS clusters.
  3. Creating molecular tools and methods for Breeding on genotypes.
  4. Responding to the challenge of coffee-crop/farm renovation, the bottleneck of smallholders.
  5. First-time proposal for consensual governance pathways for strengthening and scaling-up the novel breeding strategy.

Expected Impacts


Work Packages

Work Package 1 Breedcafs

WP1 – Understanding coffee responses to biotic and abiotic stresses

The main objective of WP1 is to contribute to the development of new breeding strategies for coffee trees based on performance screening and studies of physiological, metabolic and transcriptomic responses to biotic and abiotic factors of new and traditional varieties. The WP will address coffee adaptation and acclimation potential to current and future climate conditions through studies on elevated CO2, temperature and drought, and sustainability issues through studies on the effects of shade and AFS that have the potential of mitigation against expected climatic modifications.

The specific aims are:
1. Provide an improved and integrated understanding of coffee physiology and biochemistry from whole-plant to molecular level under optimal and stress conditions, inside and outside agroforestry systems (tasks 1, 2, 4).
2. Develop a model for coffee quality and yield taking into consideration genotype-environment interactions (task 1).
3. Understand effects of heterosis and identify candidate genes associated with plant response to stresses that
could be used to assist breeding programs for the creation of new coffee varieties (tasks 1, 3).
4. Identify high-yielding and high-quality cultivars that are adapted to current and future climates (tasks 4, 5).
5. A final objective of WP1 is to deliver well-characterised material (in terms of phenotypes) and transcriptomes to WP2 for gene networks characterisation and modeling, with the goal of elaborating new breeding strategies (all tasks).

WP1 thus provides the physiological and metabolic understanding for performance of improved genotypes.

WP2 - BreedcafsWP2 – Integration and analysis of phenotypic and molecular data via the development of an interactive bioinformatic platform for assisting coffee breeding

The main objective of WP2 is to provide a bioinformatic toolkit which will support and provide feedback to WP1, WP3 and WP5, leading to a better understanding of coffee physiology and its (epi)genetic basis alongside the development of a novel methodology for the generation of coffee hybrids adapted to agroforestry. Critically, WP2 success in providing prediction for best F1 hybrids will require a proper definition of “the ideal ideotype from a farmer and a roaster point of view”. The ideal ideotype is not expected to entail only high yield. We expect that the definition of “ideal” may even vary between farmers depending on local context or ecological conditions. Precise desired traits will therefore be defined during two workshops at start of the project and refined throughout the project by WP3.

The specific objectives of the WP are to:
1. Develop the BREEDCAFS database for storage of environmental, phenotypic, and molecular data
2. Link the database to user-friendly visualisation as well as analytical and predictive tools
3. Develop / upgrade coffee analysis software tools for RNAseq, epigenetic and genetic data (epi-GBS and GBS)
4. Build statistical models to identify best molecular and/or epi-genetic predictors for coffee quality and yield in AFS
5. Predict best parental crosses for the creation of elite F1 hybrids suited for agroforestry based on developed models
6. Prediction of performance of F1 hybrids at an early developmental stage
7. Generate 50 F1 hybrid families suited for AFS
WP2 thus provides tools for analyzing and understanding the agronomic performance of coffee varieties grown under different environmental conditions, informs about the choice of the best parents for the creation of elite hybrids in AFS and predicts the performance of F1 hybrids at an early developmental stage.

WP3 breedcafsWP3 – On-farm assessment (performance and profitability)

Taking a farm-level approach, WP3 will study Arabica F1 hybrids in coffee farmers’ fields and the Arabusta hybrid through assessments of the agronomic performance, profitability and product quality. Thus, WP3 will validate the findings of the assessment carried out in the experimental field trials (WP1). Additional to protocols developed with WP1, WP3 will work with local farmers to develop a set of standardised assessment protocols to be employed at all locations.

The specific objectives of WP3 are to:
1. Evaluate the performance for yield, tolerance to heat and water stresses, and pest and disease resistance of Arabica F1 hybrids and the Arabusta hybrid grown in AFS under different environmental settings.
2. Assess the productivity and profitability of the new Arabica F1 hybrids in AFS in comparison with local varieties in AFS and full sun systems.
3. Evaluate bean and cup quality of the Arabica F1 hybrids and the Arabusta hybrids according to roaster preferences.
4. Improve the understanding of barriers, challenges and incentives for farmer adoption of new coffee hybrids by documenting farmers’ perception of and experiences with the new coffee hybrids.
5. Develop a decision support tool for shade tree selection building on the platform of

WP4 BreedcafsWP4 – Ensuring a large-scale dissemination of F1 hybrids in the context of AFS through technological transfers and economic incentives

The overall objective of WP4 is to promote a large scale production, distribution, and use of elite coffee Arabica hybrids in Central America, Asia and Africa, taking Nicaragua, Vietnam and Cameroon as case models. It aims to provide local smallholder producers with increased access to new elite varieties and greater equity in coffee trade.

In order to achieve this overall objective, the WP4 targets the following specific objectives:

  1. Developing large-scale propagation techniques of new Arabica hybrids: setting up the bases for worldwide up- and outscaling
  2. Promoting an effective germplasm distribution pathway to reach large scale local smallholder producers.
  3. Ensuring the large-scale use of high quality coffee Arabica hybrids by creating a better income distribution between actors in the coffee value chain through promoting dialogue among them on a coffee stakeholder innovation platform: setting up the bases for sustainable coffee farm renovation.

WP5 BreedcafsWP5 – Sustainability and scaling-up of the novel breeding program developed in BREEDCAFS

The BREEDCAFS project brings together a great diversity of stakeholders and academic disciplines. It also pools various resources (biological, technological, methodological, data, human, financial, institutional) brought in by the different stakeholder groups. Such diversity is a strong asset for ensuring a robust validation of the approach and a wide dissemination of results to multiple contexts and actors. However, this diversity also poses important challenges to long-term sustainability and calls for active management. The project will mobilise the necessary capacity and resources to move the project results and tools beyond its timeframe and constituency. Designing and building within BREEDCAFS a scaling-up strategy would ensure broader impacts of the project. This scalingup strategy consists of identifying from the outset, and designing the institutional conditions and mechanisms that would allow BREEDCAFS’ novel breeding strategy to be disseminated to and taken up by a large number of organizations, in diverse contexts.

The objectives of the WP5 are :

  1. To identify clear R&D governance structures and practices that build enough confidence and participation by a wide range of actors, including farmers, and that build the adaptability necessary to implement BREEDCAF broadly and efficiently in various locations
  2. To create strong and sustainable incentive based mechanisms that increase access and reduce production costs for farmers to produce coffee adapted to the requirements of the European industry
  3. To share BREEDCAFS’ main results, methodology and scaling up strategy with a large public (task 5.3).

WP6 BreedcafsWP6 – Consortium coordination and project-management

This work package will ensure that the project moves forward in conformity with the work plan with regard to milestones, deliverables, and planned resources. It will optimise the infrastructural setup to support the project, with special attention paid to financial, logistics, information, and coordination issues and in terms of quality and conformity to EC rules and procedures. At the strategic level, it will steer the project to address the complex issues of material ownership and benefits of sharing among the various stakeholders involved in the innovation process in conformity with national and international legislation.

The specific objectives are:

  1. To ensure the efficient implementation of the joint work plan and achieving project objectives and impact
  2. To ensure efficient and effective interaction/communication between collaborating partners, regions, and WPs
  3. To monitor progress of the project (planning and budget) in compliance with financial and contractual guidelines and ensuring on-time achievement of deliverables and milestones and conducted reporting
  4. To ensure the implementation of the data-management plan, guaranteeing optimal access to interested parties
  5. To oversee risk management
  6. To ensure effective communication with the European commission
  7. To ensure the plan of dissemination