The Coffee Project

Country: Global

Impact Area

  • Nutrition
  • Water
  • Rural Development
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Compliance
  • Community engagement
  • Gender balance & diversity
Sep 18, 2012, updated September 2012

The Coffee Project
THE COFFEE PROJECT:Improved water efficiency and reduced drought sensitivity could be achieved by an optimised combination of plant material, propagation and farming techniques.

Screening for plant characteristics related to water-efficiency has only recently started in a few organizations, in particular in Brazil and Ethiopia. Coffee plant collections of different characteristics are fragmented throughout many organisations and it is unclear, which organisation has the most promising varieties. Nestlé has one of the largest collections of coffee varieties in the world and is thus considered an important piece of the global coffee plant puzzle.

Programme description

Although Nestlé has not previously screened for water-related characteristics, the following main activities are planned:

  • Reinforce and build relationships with major coffee R&D organisations in Brazil and Ethiopia
  • Start Nestlé’s own screening program for the following water-related characteristics (in addition to quality and yield) in coffee plants:
    - lower overall water demand
    - fewer and shorter irrigation cycles
    - less drought sensitivity and fast recovery after droughts

Value to Society

As early as 2010, Nestlé expects to identify a number of plants through advanced propagation technology that would potentially expand the choices available to farmers. These improved plants can be quickly propagated to pilot-stage, and eventually to large scale. Significantly improved water efficiency and reduced drought sensitivity could be achieved by an optimised combination of plant material, propagation and farming techniques. An additional benefit of the project will identify the exact minimum amount of water necessary to ensure yield and quality, thereby limiting any unnecessary irrigation. The improved plant material will be made available to regional public institutions and nurseries from which farmers supply their plants. The technology will also benefit the propriety plants for Nestlé’s premium coffees to become more drought tolerant and water efficient.

Value to Nestlé

The technology will also benefit the propriety plants for Nestlé’s premium coffees to become more drought tolerant and water efficient.

Next Steps