- We interviewed Engineer Albertino Meza Ojeda, the coordinator of the Production and Sustainability Unit of CENFROCAFE, within the MOCCA framework project, about the importance of the initiatives carried out with World Coffee Research and the impact of seed production and coffee nurseries.
By Jesslin Cruz Zeledón | Country Agronomist -World Coffee Research
CENFROCAFE is a cooperative located in Cajamarca, Peru, which is mainly dedicated to the collection and export of the coffee produced by its 3,000 members, as well as to providing them with quality planting material to boost the productivity of their farms. For the last 21 years, CENFROCAFE has been working to promote Peruvian coffee growing and is currently selling 300 kg of seeds and 800,000 plants per year.
In 2020, CENFROCAFE joined the project Maximizing Opportunities in Coffee and Cocoa in the Americas (MOCCA) to take part in the genetic identification of seed lots and the verification of varieties with World Coffee Research. The WCR Verified program is a World Coffee Research initiative in charge of certifying that coffee seed producers and nurseries are producing genetically pure, healthy plants. This certification program is designed to provide independent, science-based quality control and assurance at the beginning of the coffee supply chain.
Eng. Albertino Meza, when and how did CENFROCAFE start producing coffee seeds and plants?
CENFROCAFE started the production of propagation material in2017, to boost the recovery of many coffee areas that were affected by rust in 2012 and 2013.
Coffee growers were looking for support. They wanted to know which were the best varieties for their coffee farms and where they could get genetic quality planting materials, since at that time there was no such information available in the country.
PROMECAFE offered the opportunity to learn about Sarchimores in 2015 and also about other ECOM varieties and hybrids.
So, this is how we established a commercial relationship to import seeds and plants from Nicaragua.
The varieties that CENFROCAFE provides to producers are Geisha, Marsellaise, H1 Centroamericano, Caturra, Bourbon, Pache, etc.
What are the main challenges you have faced?
Complying with the norms and regulations to import planting materials from abroad is one of the greatest challenges faced, together with the formalization of coffee seed and plant production in the country.
The exchange of experiences with ECOM and other companies, as well as training in good practices for the management of coffee nurseries, was crucial to obtain better results.
When and how did CENFROCAFE become involved in WCR initiatives and the MOCCA project?
CENFROCAFE joined the MOCCA project initiatives in 2020, when the relationship with World Coffee Research started. It was a great opportunity to optimize our coffee seed and plant production process.
What motivated you to join the WCR initiatives with the MOCCA project?
“Our motivation to become part of the World Coffee Research and MOCCA initiatives was the need to genetically identify the planting materials that we have in established plantations and to guarantee coffee growers the traceability of their coffee farm”Albertino Meza | Coordinator of the Production and Sustainability Unit of CENFROCAFE, Cajamarca, Peru
How was your experience with the training process and the on-line materials sent by WCR/MOCCA? (Manuals, posters, videos)
The training materials provided by MOCCA and WCR offer the opportunity to learn how to increase farm productivity. The knowledge acquired through these trainings is transcendental to boost coffee farming in our country.
What are the most significant changes you have identified?
“One of the most important achievements is the genetic verification of four seed lots: Parainema, Geisha, Caturra Rojo and Marseillaise. It is paramount to guarantee coffee growers that the plants they receive are high quality, healthy, genetically selected plants according to the condition of their farms so as to ensure the profitability of their plantations”Albertino Meza | Coordinator of the Production and Sustainability Unit of CENFROCAFE
“The fact we have two WCR Verified varieties (Marseillaise and Parainema) allows us to be at the forefront. We are the only nursery in the country that provides this opportunity to Peruvian coffee growers who wish to access planting material”Albertino Meza | Coordinator of the Production and Sustainability Unit of CENFROCAFE
What do you think this process means to CENFROCAFE?
The fact of having genetically reliable planting materials, both in the seed lots and in the nursery, has gained us the acceptance and recognition of institutions with high quality standards in the country, which has in turn opened many doors for us in terms of marketing.
What would you say to other seed producers and nurserymen who are working in an empirical manner?
“My message is that we must join efforts and work for the positioning of Peruvian coffee, and that we must guarantee the quality of the seeds and plants provided to coffee growers for their farms. It is essential to continue implementing good practices in the production of planting materials to improve the quality and traceability of our coffee”Albertino Meza | Coordinator of the Production and Sustainability Unit of CENFROCAFE
About World Coffee Research
World Coffee Research is a pre-competitive, multi-stakeholder platform that enables the global coffee industry to invest in cutting-edge agricultural R&D to transform coffee production into a profitable and sustainable livelihood that can meet growing demand while protecting natural resources. WCR leads MOCCA’s activities related to (large) nurseries, as well as research and dissemination activities in coffee.