No. 35

With rust-resistant varieties, Colombian coffee growers save over $200 million a year

June, 2018


With rust-resistant varieties, Colombian coffee growers save over $200 million a year

This value is represented by costs associated with coffee rust control, including fungicides, labor and equipment costs. The saving contributes to profitability of producers.

Thanks to development of varieties that are resistant to diseases such as rust by the National Coffee Research Center (Cenicafé), scientific arm of the FNC, Colombian coffee growers save over 200 million dollars a year.

This significant saving is reflected in lower use of sanitary 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.

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.

“It is important to highlight that 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 tours 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 genetic improvement research in 1967, and following a strategy of genetic diversity it has managed to strengthen long-term resistance of its coffee varieties to diseases.

Unlike other countries, the 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 generate technologies that make coffee farming increasingly viable,” Duque noted. “It is important to say that durability of resistance is stronger with the use of multilineal varieties, compared with mono-lineal”, Duque said.

The Chief Technical Officer highlighted that, “Due also to the great ability of rust to change and generate new breeds, with higher pathogenic capacity, Cenicafé continues developing new coffee varieties to face these new breeds. The rust we have today in Colombia is not the same that arrived in 1983.”

Cenicafé’s work has also focused on aspects relating to coffee production and processing, such as production of seeds of resistant varieties, assisted harvesting equipment, coffee post-harvesting for small producers with low water consumption, reuse pits and wastewater treatment systems, including green filters.

You are invited to learn more about our coffee family and our products, visiting the COLOMBIAN COFFEE INSIGHTS sections on the top of this page.